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Ci)EfliIGHT DEPOaii V 

Four Chapters of Paterson 
History ^ 

I. The War for Independence 

II. The Early White Settlers 

III. Struggle for Indu^rial Supremacy 

IV. Municipal Admini^ration 

/ BY 


Author of 

"Wit, Wisdom and Foibles of the Great." 


Lent & Ovcrkawp Pub. Co. 


Paterson, N.J, 

Ccn4A4 Z 

Copyright, 1919, 
Charles A. Shriner. ^ 

OCT 21 1919 







This book would not have been written had it not been 
for the liberality of a publishing house. The Lewis His- 
torical Publishing Company is about to issue in three 
volumes William Nelson's History of Paterson. All who 
were acquainted with Mr. Nelson knew him to be inde^ 
fatigable in his historical researches. His History of 
Paterson was his life's work; at the time of his death he 
had written over a million words of his History. All this 
vast material, together with a great deal more obtained 
from equally reliable sources, has been placed at the disposal 
of the author of these Four Chapters of Paterson History. 
This book is intended for use in the school room and for the 
perusal of such persons as take an interest in the early days 
of Paterson and in the growth of the city from its beginning 
to the eminence it has attained as a place for industry and 

C. A. S. 

Paterson, N. J., August 15, 1919. 

The War for Independence 

The War for Independence 

The people of New Jersey took an active part in the 
quarrel between this country and Great Britain over the 
question of taxation. They were willing contributors, both 
in men and money, to the wars waged by England against 
the French, the Indians and other enemies in this country, 
but they wanted to have something to say about how the 
money was to be collected for the benefit of the mother 
country. The subject was one that afforded numerous dis- 
cussions in the assembly and other lawmaking bodies. 


But the people living in this part of New Jersey had 
two additional grievances. The English government passed 
a law making it a crime to cut down any white pine trees 
on lands not enclosed by fences; English men of money 
owned millions of acres of forests, especially south of New 
Jersey, and they were making fortunes out of cutting down 
the white trees and using them for masts; they did not want 
any interference with the profit they were making and so 
they had enacted the law which made it a crime to cut 
down any pine trees on unenclosed lands, as most of the 
lands in New Jersey were. 

The second grievance arose from the extensive mining 
operations carried on in the northern part of what is now 
Passaic county; there was no reason in those days why 
articles of iron should not have been made in this country: 
there was plenty of iron in the earth ; there were men to dig 
it and there were men who knew how to work the iron after 


the ore had been reduced: England then passed a law 
makmg it a crime for any person in this country to make 
any article of iron. The law was passed in the interest of 
the iron manufacturers of England. All that the people in 
this country could do was to ship the iron, after it had 
been reduced from the ore, to England, where men would 
make it into various articles and sell these back to the 
people in this country at a high rate of profit. Nevertheless 
the mines at Charlotteburg and Ringwood continued to be 
worked ; the iron was taken by wagon through Paterson to 
the river at Passaic where it was loaded on vessels and taken 
to England. 


The population in this country at that time was divided 
into two parties: those who thought England was wrong 
and those who thought England was right. Among the 
former was Henry Garritse, who lived along the river road, 
near where a cross road leads to Clifton, and Theunis Dey, 
who lived in Preakness. Both attended a meeting held in 
Newark in July, 1774, where arrangements were begun for 
the formation of a congress of the colonies. Both were 
members of the state legislature which met at Perth Amboy 
in January, 1775, and both voted for a petition sent to 
England asking relief from some of the laws to which this 
country objected. The only answer came from Parliament 
in April in the form of more laws hampering industry in 
this country. 

At a meeting held at Passaic Bridge in May, 1775, a 
committee of twenty-three was appointed to assist in carry- 
ing out the plan adopted in Newark. Of this committee six 
lived in what are now the boundaries of the city of Paterson : 
Michael Vreeland, Francis Post, Abraham Godwin, Cor- 
nelius Van Winkle, Henry Post and Stephen Ryder; the 


last-named subsequently deserted the American cause and 
went over to the English. At the time the committee of 
twenty-three was appointed there was little thought of 
independence and all were still loyal to England. The Pro- 
vincial Congress met in Trenton on May 23, 1775, and 
made arrangements to enroll all males between sixteen and 
fifty years of age in the militia, but there was little thought 
at the time that the soldiers thus called together might 
shoulder arms against England; even in November, 1775, 
the assembly of which Henry Garritse and Theunis Dey 
were members, passed a resolution of loyalty to England. 


One of the first bridges thrown across the Passaic river 
stood, where a bridge at the present day spans the stream, 
in the lower part of Passaic, below the old church on the 
hill so plainly visible to passengers on the Erie passing 
through Passaic. Unlike the present bridge, it was a rude 
structure, bililt of wood, but it was of more importance to 
the country than has been any bridge erected there since. 
In warfare a point of the greatest consideration is the move- 
ment of troops; the bridge at Passaic was the only bridge 
on which troops could cross the river and consequently it 
was of vast importance when, in November, 1776, General 
William Howe had formed a plan of entering New Jersey 
from the North and attacking the American forces. The 
English were far stronger in numbers than were the Ameri- 
cans and it required a great deal of good generalship on the 
part of Washington to prevent the destruction of his army. 
The Americans still had possession of Fort Washington, in 
the upper part of what is now New York city, but they 
were being harassed by the British and their mercenaries. 
General Greene was encamped at Fort Lee and here he was 
joined on November 10 by General Mercer, who came up 


from the southern part of New Jersey ; these were the first 
troops that passed through Paterson and crossed the river 
at Passaic. Lord Stirling, an American General, was with 
his forces some distance up the Hudson river; he crossed 
the Hudson at Haverstraw and marched to Fort Lee, and 
thence to Passaic, where he arrived on the 14th; with his 
eight regiments he proceeded to his destination, New Bruns- 
wick, leaving three regiments at Rahway. 


Washington had seen through the plans of the British 
generals and as early as November 7 had sent word to Pas- 
saic, warning the people there of the treatment they might 
expect at the hands of the enemy. He reached Fort Lee 
from Peekskill on November 3 and on the 15th was at 
Hackensack. Then he hurried back to Fort Lee, for the 
British had demanded the surrender of Fort Washington. 
The British, however, were too strong for the Americans 
and it was with sadness that he heard of the surrender of 
the fort with all its garrison and nearly all its stores ; when 
it was evident that the fort would be compelled to surrender 
an attempt was made to move men and stores across the 
river, but the British appeared in overwhelming forces 
before this could be accomplished. 

The surrender of the fort opened the way for the British 
to carry out their plan of marching into New Jersey and on 
the 19th Lord Cornwallis crossed the river and landed at 
Closter, about five miles above Fort Lee. Greene at once 
abandoned Fort Lee and started for Hackensack and he was 
as expeditious about it as possible, for it was a question 
whether he or the British could first reach the bridge called 
even at the present day New Bridge. Fortunately the 
British did not march as quickly as had been feared and the 
American army crossed in safety. From November 15 to 20 


Washington and his army were at Hackensack preparing for 
the toilsome march to New Brunswick where they hoped to 
join Lord Stirling. They left Hackensack on the 20th and, 
passing through where Lodi and Garfield are now situated, 
reached Passaic in two days. On the same day on which 
they crossed the bridge some British troops appeared on the 
other side, but it was too late, for the American forces were 
busily engaged in tearing down the bridge, succeeding in 
accomplishing this before the British could begin an attack. 
Among those who assisted in this work of destruction were 
men from the immediate neighborhood, notably John H. 
Post, a farmer and carpenter, who was born where Passaic 
now stands, and who in after years frequently told of the 
work of destruction done on the 22d of November. The 
American armies now lay on one side of the river and the 
British on the other. Washington gave his forces a rest 
and on the 28th started the march to New Brunswick, much 
to the chagrin of the British who could see the preparations 
for the retreat without being able to do anything to interfere 
with it. 


When the British found themselves safe on the New 
Jersey side of the Hudson they took time to develop their 
plans. A detachment was at once sent forward to find out 
where the Americans were and it was this detachment that 
arrived too late at New Bridge and subsequently at Passaic. 
After a consultation between Howe and Cornwallis the main 
body started into motion on the 24th and two days later 
reached the Passaic river, where they found out what had 
taken place. In order to reach the American army it was 
necessary to cross the Passaic and this the British de- 
termined to do. There was a ford in the river, just below 
where Dundee dam now stands, but the river was swollen 


and huge cakes of ice were coming down the stream. Yet 
the ford offered the only opportunity of reaching the Ameri- 
cans and so the British determined to try it. In order to 
find the shallow parts of the ford and avoid the deep holes 
the British compelled Adrian Post, the son of a miller 
nearby, to go ahead. Post had no choice in the matter and 
did as he was told, contracting a pulmonary trouble, from 
which he died twelve years later. The British crossed the 
river at the ford, marched along the Passaic to Second river 
and thence to Newark, reaching the latter city just as the 
Americans were marching out of it on the other side. 

This pursuit of the American forces gave rise to an 
animated discussion in the British Parliament some time 
after. It was pointed out that it had taken the British two 
days to cover eight miles; it was pleaded in their behalf 
that the weather was very bad, there being a great deal of 
rain and cold, but the opinion that most of the British 
people arrived at was expressed by one of their statesmen, 
who said: "If our generals had not been so fond of their 
beds and bellies the revolution would have ended in British 
success in 1776 in New Jersey." This may have been true, 
although the generalship of Washington might have pre- 
vented a defeat; the fondness charged to the British was 
fully corroborated by investigations in later years. When 
the British forces had effected the crossing of the Passaic 
river, they abandoned themselves to pillage. Some of them 
strayed as far as where the Market street bridge now stands 
and they took possession of everything they could lay their 
hands on; a great deal of what they could not carry away 
they destroyed, a proceeding the soldiers indulged in all 
along their line of march. Every house they came to was 
stripped of its furniture and every bam of its contents. 
Hundreds of horses, cows, sheep, hogs and chickens, and 
thousands of dollars in coin, jewelry, clothing and produce 


followed in the wake of Washington's retreating anny but 
in the possession of British soldiers. 

Comwallis and Howe followed Washington to New 
Brunswick ; here Comwallis was anxious to begin an attack 
but was restrained by Howe, who thought it better to wait. 
The British forces did wait and thus they made possible the 
battles of Trenton and Princeton. 

On November 28 another body of British troops, princi- 
pally Hessian mercenaries, left New York, and followed 
Howe and Comwallis, plundering as they went. In Sep- 
tember, 1777, a marauding party from Sir Henry Clinton's 
army visited Passaic and went up the river as far as Market 
street, Paterson. 

In May of that same year General Nathaniel Heard, of 
the New Jersey militia, threw up some fortifications at 
Pompton and in the following month was ordered back to 
the same place by General Philemon Dickinson, at the 
request of General Washington. One of the objects of 
General Heard's presence at Pompton was the protection of 
the Cannonball road, by which cannon balls, made at Ring- 
wood, were taken to the American forces. This road was 
formerly a goal of sightseers from Paterson; what was left 
of it some years ago was discernible a short distance north 
of the Pompton Lakes station on the New York, Susque- 
hanna & Western railroad, and from there it could be easily 
traced to Rotten pond; it was finally abandoned by the 

After the battle of Monmouth in 1778, Washington 
returned to the Hudson river, passing through Passaic on 
July 9. In October Lord Stirling had his headquarters at 
Passaic, the object being to put a stop to the doings of 
marauding parties of British soldiery. 


In May, 1779, Captain Ferguson headed a marauding 
party which penetrated through Bergen county and came 
to Paterson by way of Paramus. At Vreeland avenue they 
took two horses from Abraham C. Vreeland and at Twen- 
tieth avenue five horses from Michael Vreeland. They con- 
tinued on down the river road for some distance, pillaging 
Rs they went. 

On May 29, 1779, Washington broke camp at Middle- 
brook for the purpose of checking a British advance in the 
direction of West Point, the American army passing through 
Pompton and Ringwood. They went over the same route 
later in the year on the way to winter quarters at Morris- 
town, where Lafayette joined Washington. 


Washington with his army was encamped between the 
Falls of the Passaic and Preakness on July 4, 1780, remain- 
ing there until the 29th of the month, when the army 
marched to Paramus, being encamped there and at Tappan. 
Washington had been informed that the British contem- 
plated an attack on Rhode Island and in order to check this 
the American forces were marched towards the Hudson 
river as if intending to attack the British in New York. 
Washington's threatening attitude induced the British to 
give up their idea of marching towards Rhode Island and, 
this having been accomplished, the American forces returned 
to New Jersey. On October 7, Washington wrote from 
Paramus : 

"We have had a cold, wet, and tedious march, on account of the 
feeble state of our cattle. My intention is to proceed with them to the 
neighborhood of the Passaic Falls." 

The army returned to its former camp at Totowa and 
Preakness and remained there until November 27, when 


Washington went into winter quarters at Morristown, leav- 
ing the New Jersey Brigade at Pompton and the Clove. 

Washington's headquarters, while his army was in 
camp at Totowa and Preakness, were at the Dey house, a 
building which can be reached at the present day by going 
about two and a half miles along the road running westerly 
from the river at Lincoln Bridge. When Washington was at 
the Dey house that building was one of the most preten- 
tious in this part of the country. Just when it was built is 
a matter of uncertainty, the likelihood being that it was 
erected about a quarter of a century before the Revolution 
by Theunis Dey, a man whose name figures prominently in 
the Revolutionary annals of the time. He was the son of 
Dirck Dey and according to some traditions it was Dirck 
Dey who erected the building before the birth of Theunis. 
The house, two stories with a double pitch roof, has a 
frontage of fifty-two feet and is thirty feet in depth. The 
house is of brick, the doors and windows being handsomely 
framed with polished brown sandstone. The side and rear 
are of rubble work. The timbers on the inside are of 
massive oak, fastened together with pins of wood, after the 
fashion of building houses in those days. A centre hall, 
twelve feet wide, has two rooms on each side. The house 
stands today as it stood during Washington's occupancy, 
with the exception of the two dormer windows in the roof, 
these having been added many years later. 

The location of the various divisions of the American 
army, while Washington was at Preakness, is indicated on 
the accompanying map. 

A VISIT TO Washington's camp. 

The Marquis de Chastellux, a French nobleman, visited 
Washington at Preakness and tells of it as follows: 


I found myself in a small plain, where I saw a handsome farm ; a 
small camp which seemed to cover it, a large tent extended in the 
court, and several wagons round it, convinced me that this was his 
Excellency's quarter; for it is thus Mr. Washington is called in the 
army, and throughout America. M. de la Fayette was in conversation 
with a taU man, five foot nine inches high, (about five foot ten inches 
and a half English,) of a noble and mild countenance. It was the 
general himself. I was soon off horseback, and near him. The compli- 
ments were short ; the sentiments with which I was animated, and the 
good wishes he testified for me were not equivocal. He conducted me 
to his house, where I found the company still at table, although the 
dinner had been long over. He presented me to the Generals Knox, 
Wayne, Howe, &c. and to his family, then composed of Colonels Hamil- 
ton and Tilgman, his secretaries and his aids-de-camp, and of Major 
Gibbs, commander of his guards ; for in England and America, the aids- 
de-camp, adjutants and other officers attached to the general, form 
what is called his family. A fresh dinner was prepared for me and 
mine; and the present was prolonged to keep me company. A few 
glasses of claret and madeira accelerated the acquaintances I had to 
make, and I soon felt myself at my ease near the greatest and the 
best of men. The goodness and benevolence which characterise him, 
are evident from every thing about him ; but the confidence he gives 
birth to, never occasions improper familiarity ; for the sentiment he 
inspires has the same origin in every individual, a profound esteem for 
his virtues, and a high opinion of his talents. About nine o'clock thQ 
general officers withdrew to their quarters, which were all at a consider- 
able distance ; but as the general wished me to stay in his own house, 
I remained some time with him, after which he conducted me to the 
chamber prepared for my aids-de-camp and me. This chamber occupied 
the fourth part of his lodgings ; he apologized to me for the little room 
he had in his disposal, but always with a noble politeness, which was 
neither complimentary nor troublesome. 

At nine the next morning they informed me that his excellency 
was come down into the parlor. This room served at once as audience 
chamber and dining-room. I immediately went to wait on him, an(J 
f ovmd breakfast prepared. •- ^ 

Whilst we were at breakfast, horses were brought, and General 
Washington gave orders for the army to get under arms at the head 
of the camp. The weather was very bad, and it had already begun 
raining ; we waited half an hour ; but the General seeing that it was 
more likely to increase than to diminish, determined to get on horse- 
back. Two horses were brought him, which were a present from the 
state of Virginia ; he mounted one himself, and gave me the other. 
Mr. Lynch and Mr. de Montesquieu, had each of them, also, a very 
handsome blood horse, such as we could not find at Newport for any 
money. We repaired to the artillery camp, where General Knox 
received us : the artillery was numerous, and the gunners, in very fine 
order, were formed in parade, in the foreign manner, that is, each gunner 
at his battery, and ready to fire. The General was so good as to 
apologize to me for the cannon not firing to salute me; he said, that 


having put all the troops on the other side of the river in motion, and ' 
apprized them that he might hiinself march along the right bank, he 
was afraid of giving the alarm, and of deceiving the detachments that 
were out. We gained at length, the right of the army, where we saw 
the Pennsylvania line ; it was composed of two brigades, each forming 
three battalions, without reckoning the light infantry, which were de- 
tached with the Marquis de la Fayette. General Wayne, who com- 
manded it, was on horseback, as well as the Brigadiers and Colonels. 
They were all well mounted : the officers also had a very military air ; 
they were well ranged, and saluted very gracefully. Each brigade had 
a band of music; the march they were then playing was the Huron. 
I knew that this line, though in want of many things, was the best 
clothed in the army ; so that his excellency asking me whether I would 
proceed, and see the whole army, or go by the shortest road to the camp 
■of the Marquis, I accepted the latter proposal. The troops ought to 
thank me for it, for the rain was falling with redoubled force ; they 
were dismissed, therefore, and we arrived heartily wet at the Marquis 
de la Fayette's quarters, where I warmed myself with great pleasure, 
partaking, from time to time, of a large bowl of grog, which is station- 
ary on his table, and is presented to every officer who enters. The rain 
appearing to cease, or inclined to cease for a moment, we availed our- 
selves of the opportunity to follow his excellency to the camp of the 
Marquis : we found all his troops in order of battle on the heights to 
the left, and himself at their head ; expressing by his air and counten- 
ance, that he was happier in receiving me there, than at his estate in 
Auvergne. The confidence and attachment of the troops, are for him 
invaluable possessions, well acquired riches, of which nobody can de- 
prive him ; but what, in my opinion, is still more flattering for a young 
man of his age, is the influence and consideration he has acquired 
among the political, as well as the military order : I do not fear contra- 
diction when I say, that private letters from him have frequently pro- 
duced more effect on some states than the strongest exhortations of the 
Congress. On seeing him, one is at a loss which most to admire, that 
so young a man as he should have given such eminent proofs of talents, 
or that a man so tried, should give hopes of so long a career of glory. 
Fortunate his country, if she knows how to avail herself of them ; more 
fortunate still should she stand in no need of calling them into exer- 
tion ! 

The rain spared us no more at the camp of the Marquis, than at 
that of the main army; so that our review being finished, I saw with 
pleasure General Washington set off in a gallop to regain his quarters. 
We reached them as soon as the badness of the roads would permit us. 
At our return we found a good dinner ready, and about twenty guests, 
among whom were Generals Howe and Sinclair. The repast was in 
the English fashion, consisting of eight or ten large dishes of butcher's 
meat, and poultry, with vegetables of several sorts, followed by a second 
course of pastry, comprized under the two denominations of pies and 
-puddings. After this the cloth was taken off, and apples and a great 
quantity of nuts were served, which General Washington usually con- 
tinues eating for two hours, toasting and conversing all the time. These 


nuts are small and dry, and have so hard a shell, (hickory nuts) that 
they can only be broken by the hammer; they are served half oi>en, 
and the company are never done picking and eating them. The conver- 
sation was calm and agreeable; his Excellency was pleased to enter 
with me into the particulars of some of the principal operations of the 
war, but always with a modesty and conciseness, which proved that it 
was from pure complaisance he mentioned it. About half past seven we 
rose from table, and immediately the servants came to shorten it, and 
convert it into a round one; for at dinner it was placed diagonally to 
give more room. I was surprised at this manoeuvre, and asked the 
reason of It; I was told they were going to lay the cloth for supper. 
In half an hour I retired to my chamber, fearing lest the General 
might have business, and that he remained in company only on my 
account ; but at the end of another half hour, I was informed that his 
Excellency expected me at supper. I returned to the dining-room, 
protesting against this supper; but the General told me he was accus- 
tomed to take something in the evening; that if I would be seated, I 
should only eat some fruit, and assist in the conversation. I desired 
nothing better, for there were then no strangers, and nobody remained 
but the General's family. The supper was composed of three or four 
light dishes, some fruit, and above all, a great abimdance of nuts, which 
were as well received in the evening as at dinner. 

The weather was so bad on the 25th, that it was impossible for me 
to stir, even to wait on the Generals, to whom M. de la Fayette waa 
to conduct me. I easily consoled myself for this, finding it a great 
luxury to pass a whole day with General Washington, as if he were 
at his house in the country, and had nothing to do. The Generals 
Glover, Huntington, and some others, dined with us, and the Colonels 
Stewart and Butler, two oflScers distinguished in the army. 

The weather being fair, on the 26th, I got on horseback, after 
breakfasting with the general. He was so attentive as to give me 
the horse he rode on, the day of my arrival, which I had greatly 
commended : I found him as good as he is handsome ; but above all, 
perfectly well broke, and well trained, having a good mouth, easy in 
hand, and stopping short in a gallop without bearing the bit. I men- 
tion these minute particulars, because it is the general himself who 
breaks all his own horses ; and he is a very excellent and bold horse- 
man, leaping the highest fences, and going extremely quick, without 
standing upon his stirrups, bearing on the bridle, or letting his horse 
run wild ; circumstances which our young men look upon as so essential 
a part of English horsemanship, that they would rather break a leg or 
an arm than renounce them. 

My first visit was to General Wayne, where Mr. de la Fayette 
was waiting to conduct me to the other general oflScers of the line. 
We were received by General Huntington, who appeared rather young 
for the rank of Brigadier-General, which he has held two years: his 
carriage is cold and reserved, but one is not long in perceiving him to 
be a man of sense and information ; by General Glover, about five and 
forty, a little man, but active and a good soldier ; by General Howe, who 
is one of the oldest Major-Generals, and who enjoys the consideration 


due to his rank, though, from unfavourable circumstances, he has not 
been fortunate in war, particularly in Georgia, where he commanded 
with a very small force, at the time General Provost took possession 
of it : he is fond of music, the arts, and pleasure, and has a cultivated 
mind. I remained a considerable time with him, and saw a very 
curious lusus natura, but as hideous as possible. It was a young man 
of a Dutch family, whose head was become so enormous, that it took 
the whole nourishment from his body ; and his hands and arms were so 
weak that he was unable to make use of them. He lies constantly in 
bed, with his monstrous head supported by a pillow; and as he has 
long been accustomed to lie on his right side, his right arm is in a 
state of atrophy : he is not quite an idiot, but he could never learn 
any thing, and has no more reason than a child of five or six years 
old, though he is seven and twenty. This extraordinary derangement 
of the animal economy proceeds from a dropsy, with which he was 
attacked in his infancy, and which displaced the bones that form the 
cranium. We know that these bones are joined together by sutures, 
which are soft in the first period of life, and harden and ossify with 
age. Such an exuberance, so great an afflux of humour in that, which 
of all the viscera seems to require the most exact proportion, as well 
in what relates to the life as to the understanding of man, afford 
stronger proof of the necessity of an equilibrium between the solids and 
the fluids, than the existence of the final causes. 

The big-headed man, referred to by the Marquis, was 
Pieter Van Winkle, who was bom in 1754, and died at the 
age of thirty-one years. Samuel Dewees, who was a fifer 
in a Pennsylvania regiment, described him as follows: 

His body was chunkey and about the size of a healthy boy of ten 
or twelve years old and he laid in a kind of cradle, but his head 
(although shaped like to a human head), was like a flour barrel in 
size, and it was common for one soldier to describe it to others by 
comparing it to a flour barrel. It had to be lifted about (the body 
could not support it) whenever and wherever it had to be moved to. 
His senses appeared to be good, and it was usual for us to say, "he can 
talk like a lawyer." He would talk to every person that visited him. 
All the soldiers that visited him and that had any money, would always 
give him something. It was said that General Washington when he 
went to see him gave his father the sum of four or five hundred dollars 
as a present to aid in his support. Although I have here attempted a 
description of his person and appearance, it beggared every description 
I can give, as no person can conceive truly his appearance, but those 
that seen him. 

Among the visitors to Pieter Van Winkle was General 
LaFayette, who, on his return visit to Totowa, in 1824, in- 
quired after the health of this prodigy. 



Numerous anecdotes are told of Washington while he 
was in the neighborhood, anecdotes trite in themselves, but 
interesting because of their connection with Washington. 
Thus, Lena Van Houten, who lived with her parents on the 
bank of the Passaic river near Lincoln bridge, was returning 
to her home with a pail of water from the river; she was a 
young girl and as she trudged along merrily she was singing. 
She noticed that she was being followed at a respectful 
distance by a man who was evidently deriving pleasure from 
her singing. She entered the house and was followed by the 
man, who with stately courtesy asked her to repeat the song. 
She looked up and saw the well known face and figure of 
George Washington. She was so overcome that she left the 
room as hurriedly as possible. 

Simeon Hopper was born in 1780 and he was only a few 
hours old when Washington fondled him; holding him up 
in his broad hands, he exclaimed, "In eighteen years I shall 
have another soldier." 

Washington occasionally went out hunting and at times 
was accompanied by Cornelius Doremus, then fifteen years 
of age. Doremus frequently told that it was Washington's 
custom at nine o'clock in the evening, to place a Bible upon 
a stand, read a chapter and then offer prayer. When Wash- 
ington was about to leave, he took Cornelius by the hand 
and said, "Cornelius, you are a good boy. Always mind your 
father, and speak the truth." 

TRIAL OF Arnold's accomplice. 

Benedict Arnold visited Washington at Preakness on 
July 28, 1780, probably for the purpose of obtaining all the 
information possible, for he was already in communication 
with the British, to whom he had offered to surrender West 
Point. When Major John Andre was arrested, Joshua Hett 


Smith was also taken into custody, for he had accompanied 
Andre to the place where the treason was arranged. Smith 
was taken along when the army moved from Tappan to 
Totowa and he was there tried for treason. While the case 
was pending he was quartered at the Passaic Hotel, corner 
of River and Bank streets, Paterson, concerning which he 
wrote subsequently that the landlady refused him admit- 
tance when she discovered who he was. This was certainly 
not at all surprising, for the landlady was Mrs. Abraham 
Godwin, whose husband had given up his life in the cause 
of freedom; two of her sons were in the American army and 
a third was in a British prison ship in New York harbor. 
The court rendered a peculiar verdict: it was to the effect 
that Smith was guilty of all the acts charged against him, 
but, as he had no guilty knowledge of the intentions of 
Andre, he was acquitted. In anticipation of a possible 
failure of justice another warrant had been issued for his 
arrest and he was hurried off to Goshen for another trial. 
Here he made his escape at night and found his way through 
Ringwood and Pompton, back to Totowa. He spent the day 
concealed in the woods and at night found a small canoe in 
which he crossed the Passaic. He gained the top of Garret 
mountain and finally reached Jersey City, from which escape 
to the British in New York was a matter of ease. 


The Btory of the revolt of some New Jersey soldiers 
while in camp at Pompton does not make very pleasant 
reading, but there are more dark pages in history than such 
as give pleasure. The trouble began on January 1, 1781, 
when the Pennsylvania line mutinied. It may be said in 
extenuation of the gravity of their offence, that the soldiers 
were ill-clad and half-starved and that they were suffering 
all other privations which a lack of funds and a rigorous 


climate could bring. There was also a question whether the 
men were not right in demanding that they should have the 
privilege of returning to their homes. They had enlisted 
"for three years or during the war." What did this mean? 
Were the men to serve during the war if it did not last more 
than three years, or were they to serve during the whole war 
no matter how long it lasted? The Pennsylvania Line took 
up their march to Philadelphia with a view to compelling 
Congress to redress their grievances. Congress appointed 
a commission ; the difficulty was smoothed over and the men 
returned to their camps. The mutineers had been at least 
partially successful and this had a bad effect on the New 
Jersey soldiers. Foreseeing that there would be trouble, 
most of the New Jersey soldiers were sent to Chatham. One 
hundred and sixty of them remained at Pompton. One of 
the demands these made was that they should receive all 
the pay due them and they stipulated that they would take 
seventy-five dollars in paper money for every dollar due. 
The legislature of New Jersey promptly acceded to this^ 
demand, emptying the state treasury in doing so. There 
still remained other grievances, including the question of the^ 
term of their enlistment. They were told that the matter 
should be looked into and replied that their own oaths were 
better evidence than any ofl&cial records. Unfortunately 
they had made the worst possible use, especially under the 
circumstances, of the money they had received, for most of 
it found its way into the till at the tavern. Tired of waiting 
for relief, they placed themselves under the command of 
Sergeant-Major George Grant on January 20 and rose in 
open rebellion. Grant was an intelligent soldier and writer, 
for he had been with General Sullivan in a campaign 
against the Indians in 1779 and had written a history of the 
expedition. It was with reluctance that he accepted the new 
honor thrust upon him. A few of the mutineers went so.. 


far as to talk of deserting to the enemy, but this was not the 
prevailing spirit. Sir Henry Clinton, the British comman- 
der at New York, however, had heard some of the whispers 
of treason and he was anxious to take the full benefit of 
them. He appointed commissioners to treat with the in- 
surgents and sent an armed force to support them. When 
the insurgents heard of this they passed a resolution that 
they would at once put to death any person who suggested 
desertion to the British and, furthermore, that they would 
hang any British emissary who made any overtures to that 
effect. A delegation from the New Jersey legislature arrived, 
willing to make any promises that could be kept. The 
soldiers went back to their tents and huts but they did so 
reluctantly and it was evident that they were doing what 
they were not willing to do. 

Word of what had taken place reached Washington and 
he at once resolved upon drastic measures. There had been 
too much insubordination and it was time, if the army was 
to be kept together, that energetic steps should be taken to 
make it plain that treason would not be tolerated under any 
circumstances. Washington despatched General Robert 
Howe with one thousand men ; in his letter of instructions to 
General Howe he said : 

"The object of your detachment is to compel the mutineers to 
unconditional submission ; and I am to desire, that you will grant no 
terms while they are with arms in their hands in a state of resistance. 
If you succeed in compelling the revolted troops to a surrender, you 
will instantly execute a few of the most active and incendiary leaders." 

General Howe at once proceeded to execute the com- 
mission. He had serious misgivings, for he was leading men 
against their fellow soldiers, and his thousand men had the 
same grievances which had driven the insurgents to extreme 
measures. He tested the loyalty of his troops in various 
ways and was satisfied that they would obey orders. He left 
New Windsor with his troops on one of the coldest days of 


the year and arrived at Ringwood on Friday, January 26. 
During the night he posted his men close to the camp of the 
insurgents and every road leading from it was carefully 
guarded. The demand for surrender came shortly after the 
break of day and it was a rude awakening for the disaffected 
soldiers. They were ordered to march unarmed into an ad- 
joining field. Some of them made attempts to escape but 
they found all avenues cut off. Finally they yielded and 
immediately afterwards they told the story of their doings 
to a court martial, "standing in the snow," as the record 
reads. Sergeant-Major Grant, Sergeant David Gillmore 
and Private John Tuttle were convicted of having been the 
ringleaders in the rebellion and sentenced to death. Grant 
was pardoned, because it was shown that he had unwillingly 
assumed the command ; the other two were at once shot, the 
bullets which ended their existence speeding from rifles in 
the hands of some of their fellow conspirators. Two mounds 
of stones mark the graves of the fallen ; these mounds may 
still be seen on an elevation in the mountains overlooking 
the raih-oad station at Pompton Lakes. A guard sufficient 
to protect the stores at Ringwood and Pompton was left 
behind; the rest of the army, including the men who had 
rebelled, marched south on their way to Yorktown. 


There was a wholly different scene of military activity 
at Pompton during the latter days of August of that same 
year. The French general, the Count de Rochambeau, had 
crossed the Hudson at Stony Point and reached Pompton 
on the 25th. Instead of half-starved and rag-clad soldiers 
the natives beheld the flower of the French army officered 
by some of the greatest noblemen of France. Fully equipped 
and with an abundance of ammunition they passed through 
Pompton and thence to Whippany on their way south to 
he present at the surrender at Yorktown. 


Another and a still different scene was presented at 
Pompton in December. It was a part of the same army- 
returning victorious from Yorktown; the soldiers were a 
little bedraggled and their uniforms a little the worse for 
wear, but the spirit of victory accomplished had taken the 
place of the grim determination of soldiers about going to 
battle. The commander of the regiment that passed through 
Pompton was de Chastellux, who had risen to the dignity of 

On July 12, 1782, Washington passed through Pompton 
with a part of his army on his way from the Hudson to 
Philadelphia, to meet Rochambeau. But Washington had 
not yet seen the last of what is now the territory of Passaic 
county, for he rode from Newburg to Ringwood in April, 
1783, for the purpose of meeting the Secretary of War to 
make arrangements for the release of prisoners. On August 
18, 1783, Washington, accompanied by Mrs. Washington, 
left his headquarters at Newburg for Rocky Hill, N. J., 
where he issued his farewell address to his army on Novem- 
ber 2, and the probability is that he passed through Pomp- 

Just how many men from Paterson fought in the Revo- 
lutionary army cannot be ascertained, for in those days the 
records were not kept with the particularity of the present 
day. There were many of them, and many were heroes 
whose deeds of valor and of suffering have never been told 
or have been long since forgotten. But there were some 
whose prominence in those days of great opportunities at- 
tracted more than passing attention. The most prominent, 
so far as Paterson is concerned, were the patriotic Godwins. 


Abraham Godwin, whose father came to this country 
from England in 1720, was born in New York city on No- 


vember 23, 1724, and there, on May 9, 1747, he married 
Phebe Cool, whose father had come to this country from 
Holland in 1722. He was employed as a carpenter in New 
York but some eight years after his marriage determined to 
leave and establish a home for himself in what was at that 
time a wilderness. Among the places he visited was one 
called Totowa by the Indians ; the latter were very friendly 
and, in fact, seemed anxious to have Godwin come and live 
among them. He returned to New York and made known 
his intention of going to New Jersey to live. He was at 
that time employed by the Dey family and they were re- 
luctant to part with so good a carpenter. So they ofifered to 
give him the south side of Dey street, from Broadway to 
the Hudson river, if he would work for them to the extent 
of six hundred pounds. But Godwin had seen New Jersey 
and, like so many others since, liked it better than New 
York. He erected a house for himself on what is now the 
southeast comer of River and Bank streets and he removed 
thither with his family. The Ringwood company had begun 
operations in the upper part of the county and they were 
compelled to cart their product, iron, over bad roads to a 
place on the river near Passaic; their men found Godwin's 
house a very convenient place to stop at; in this way 
Godwin became acquainted with the managers of the com- 
pany and he was soon appointed their agent to purchase 
goods for them in New York and bring these goods to Pater- 
son, from whence they could be carted to Ringwood. That 
he kept on good terms with the Indians is evident from the 
fact that the Indians were in the habit of sending some of 
their warriors to his house to look after the safety of the 
occupants while Godwin was away on his trips to New 
York. After the Indians had gone Godwin changed his 
house into a tavern and for some years did a thriving busi- 
ness, for the population of the neighborhood was ever in- 


creasing and there were many sightseers from New York 
attracted by the Falls. But he was not permitted to retain 
the monopoly, for in 1774 James Leslie opened a tavern at 
what is now the southwest corner of Redwoods and Totowa 
avenues. This induced Mr. Godwin to erect a more pre- 
tentious building for his tavern, a building, subsequently 
enlarged, which was known for many years as the Passaic 
Hotel. In the New York Gazette, September 5, 1774, he 
announced : 

"The subscriber Las built a new and very commodious house for 
tavernkeeping, about two hundred yards from his late dwelling house, 
at the foot of the bridge, on the King's highway to Newark, and intends 
God willing, to leave all business as shopkeeping and farming, and 
apply himself solely to tavernkeeping, and to keep as good a house as 
the counti'y will afford, viz.. Eating, drinking and lodging, with the best 
accommodation for horses. All gentlemen and ladies who will please 
favor him with their company, may depend upon the best and genteelest 
treatment. Should it appear too great a distance from his house to the 
Falls, any gentlemen or ladies who chuse to go there shall be supplied 
with horses gratis. A convenient room for dancing, and a fiddler, will 
always be ready for the service of ladies & gentlemen who may require 
it. Also a guide to attend any strangers, who shall show them all the 
natural curiosities at the Falls." 

Godwin built a number of houses, principally along 
Broadway, as high up as Carroll street, and was in a fair way 
to become a man of wealth when the shadows of the Revo- 
lution began to appear. He also erected a building on the 
opposite side of the river, which he used for some years as 
a store house and subsequently as a tavern. He was one of 
the first to espouse the cause of liberty. He had a com- 
mission from the king of England as a captain of a company 
of horse; as he did not approve of the conduct of George III. 
towards the American colonies he resigned his commission 
and disbanded the company. This was a signal for a begin- 
ning of bitter enmity on the part of those who remained 
loyal to Great Britain. These did all they possibly could 
to annoy and injure Godwin and he soon found himself 


compelled to sell a great deal of his real estate at prices much 
lower than he considered its true value. 

He was one of the first to enlist and he soon rose to the 
rank of captain of marines on board the Lady Washington 
in the harbor of New York. He was wounded, slightly it was 
at first supposed, in an engagement at the Highlands of New 
Jersey, but he returned to his ship. Here he received pain- 
ful news from home. Marauding bands of English and 
Hessians had taken possession of his house, destroyed his 
furniture and put his family in sore straits. He begged his 
commanding officer for a hundred men with the intention 
of punishing the marauders, but this was refused. His 
wound began to give more trouble and, with worried spirit 
and intense physical suffering, he expired on February 9, 
1777. His remains were interred with all military honors 
at Fishkill, N. Y. 

Henry Godwin, oldest son of Abraham Godwin, was 
born February 25, 1751. He left Paterson early in life and 
was practicing law near Fishkill, N. Y., in 1775, when he 
enlisted in the Revolutionary army. He rose to be captain 
of the Fifth New York regiment, which was captured by the 
British at the surrender of Fort Montgomery, October 6, 
1777. For three years he was kept prisoner aboard a ship 
and then for six months was on parole on Long Island, after 
which he was exchanged. He returned to his home in New 
York where he died shortly after, his death being caused 
by privations endured while he was a prisoner. His remains 
were interred next to those of his father. 

Abraham Godwin, bom July 16, 1763, was a little more 
than thirteen years old, when he joined his brother's com- 
pany in the Fifth New York regiment as fife major. With 
him came another brother, David, born March 5, 1766, 
who was the regimental drummer. The two boys served 
throughout the war. Abraham returned to Paterson and 


soon after sold the property he had obtained in the state 
of New York for his services in the army, using the money 
thus obtained in repurchasing his father's tavern which had 
been sold by creditors during the days of the war. David 
was employed as a carpenter for a number of years in Pat- 
erson, after which he removed to Rhinebeck, N. Y., where 
he died. 


Robert Erskine was sent to this country by the London 
Company to look after their mining interests in what is now 
the upper part of Passaic county. Iron had been found in 
the mountains there many years before and iron was what 
was wanted not only in this country but in Europe. Iron 
miners came from afar and near, bought lands from the 
Indians and began digging for ore. But it was not until 
1740 that this work was done on a large scale, for in that 
year the Ringwood Company was formed. The company 
worked the mines for nearly a quarter of a century and then 
sold out to the London Company, an organization with a 
peculiar history. Peter Hasenclever was bom in Germany, 
but he had lived for many years in Portugal. He was in- 
terested in the doings in this country and he thought he 
saw a way in which he could make a great deal of money. 
There was iron in America, and Portugal wanted iron; 
Portugal made beads, toys and other such things as the 
Indians in the West Indies would like to have; there was 
a great deal of fine fruit in the West Indies, just the kind 
the people in New York would be willing to give money 
for. So a number of vessels might sail from Portugal to the 
West Indies and from there to New York and make money 
in each place, toys from Portugal, fruits from the West 
Indies and iron from New York. But Hasenclever could not 
make the Portuguese see things that way and so he went 


to London where he found people willing enough to risk 
their money with him. But he could not find miners willing 
to take their chances in the new country. So he went back 
to where he had been born and there he had no trouble in 
inducing a number of miners to go with him. With the cash 
he had received in London he bought out the Ringwood 
Company, But Hasenclever found that he could not make 
any money out of his scheme and so the English, whose 
money he was spending, brought him back and put John 
Jacob Faesch in his place. Faesch did not do much better 
and his place was taken by Erskine. He had about six 
hundred men working for him, nearly all in the mines, and 
he was making money for those who employed him, when 
the Revolutionary war broke out. He at once espoused 
the cause of this country and organized the workmen in his 
employ into a company, the services of which he offered to 
Washington, making a stipulation, however, that the men 
should not be drafted into other regiments; he wanted to 
keep his men together, so that in the event of a cessation 
of hostilities, they could all return to Ringwood. He became 
an intimate friend of Washington and was commissioned 
Geographer and Surveyor-General of the American forces. 
On the road leading from the Hewitt residence to the com- 
pany's store there may be seen today two tombs, mounds 
built of brick, on which rest two slabs. One of these slabs 
indicates that beneath lie buried the remains of "Robert 
Erskine, F. R. S., Geographer and Surveyor-General to the 
Army of the United States, Son of Ralph Erskine, late 
minister at Dunfermline, in Scotland. Born September 7th, 
1735. Died October 2d, 1780. Aged 45 Years and 25 
Days." The inscription on the other slab reads: "In Mem- 
ory of Robert Monteith, Clark to Robert Erskine, Esq. 
Born at Dunblaine in Scotland. Died December 2, 1778, 
Aged 33 Years." 



One of the most picturesque figures on the streets of 
early Paterson, a man who was always in demand when 
there was any activity in military afifairs, was that of Briga- 
dier-General William Colfax, a resident for many years of 
Pompton, but a frequent visitor in Paterson. He was born 
in New London, Conn., July 3, 1756, and took part in the 
famous battle of Bunker Hill. He was subsequently trans- 
ferred to a Connecticut regiment. He was at Valley Forge 
when Washington, on March 17, 1778, issued an order that 
"one hundred men are to be annexed to the Guard of the 
Commander-in-Chief, for the purpose of forming a corps, 
to be instructed in the maneuvres necessary to be intro- 
duced into the army, and to serve as a model for the execu- 
tion of them." Birth in this country was a requisite for 
enlistment in this Guard and the motto selected was "Con- 
quer or Die." According to the order the guards were to be 
from five feet eight inches to five feet ten inches in height, 
between twenty and thirty years of age, of "robust consti- 
tution, well-limbed, formed for activity, and men of estab- 
lished character for sobriety and fidelity." In this guard 
Colfax was lieutenant and subsequently captain comman- 
dant, succeeding Captain Caleb Gibbs, of Rhode Island. 

Captain Colfax was wounded three times. On the first 
occasion, as he was about to give a word of command, a 
bullet struck his uplifted sword and, glancing down the 
blade, injured his hand. Shortly after a bullet passed 
through his right forearm, between the bones, but doing no 
injury to them. On the third occasion the captain was on 
horseback when a bullet went through his body, between the 
abdomen and the hip. In the excitement of the battle he 
paid no attention to the wound until some soldiers saw 
blood issuing from his boot. He rode to the field hospital, 
where the wound was found to he more serious than had 


been at first apprehended. He lay sick for some time in the 
hospital, but when General Washington offered him a fur- 
lough, that he might go home until fully recovered, he de- 
clined it, preferring to remain with the army. Some time 
afterwards, while the army was in winter quarters at Mor- 
ristown, he accepted the furlough and rode on horseback all 
the way to his home in Connecticut. He returned very 
much improved in health and remained with the army until 
the close of the war. 

At the surrender of Cornwallis Captain Colfax occu- 
pied a prominent position near Washington and Rocham- 
beau, havmg been placed there by the orders of Washing- 
ton. It is but natural that in after years he should have 
been fond of detailing that momentous scene. He said that 
the surrender took place while the band was playing "Yan- 
kee Doodle." Cornwallis kept away on the plea of not 
feeling well, and sent General O'Hara to tender the sword 
of surrender. The American and French armies were drawa 
up, facing each other, Washington at the head of one and 
Rochambeau at the head of the other. General O'Hara did 
not fancy the task assigned to him; he hesitated between 
tendering the sword to the general commanding the rebel- 
lious subjects of his king or tendering it to the general of a 
nation with which England had had so many bloody wars. 
But he apparently concluded that it would be less difficult 
to surrender to a Frenchman. So he seized the sword by 
the blade and presented the hilt to the French general, 
when the latter exclaimed, "Me no Washington ; me Roch- 
ambeau," just as if that bit of information were at all 
necessary. O'Hara then turned to Washington and com- 
pleted the surrender. 

That Captain Colfax was a favorite of General Wash- 
ington and also of Mrs. Washington is evident from two 
keepsakes still in possession of the Colfax family. One of. 


them is an old flint-lock pistol, presented by Washington to 
Colfax; there were two of them when the presentation was 
made, but one was lost some years ago. The pistol is ten 
inches long, the stock ornamented with silver filagree work, 
and apparently made in Holland, judging from the inscrip- 
tion, "Thone, Amsterdam." The other keepsake is a net, 
used to confine the hair when men wore their hair in cues; 
it was worn for many years by the Captain of the Com- 
mander's Guard. It is made of linen and was knitted by 
the hands of Mrs. Washington and by her presented to 

Many people who have not passed far beyond the 
meridian of life still remember the old house, with the roof 
sloping almost to the ground in the rear, which stood on the 
road above Pompton, about a quarter of a mile from where 
the road to Wanaque and Greenwood Lake branches from 
the main road. In Revolutionary days this house was the 
scene of many social festivities, in which Washington and 
his soldiers took part. It was occupied by the family of 
Jasper Schuyler, a most attractive member of which evi- 
dently was the daughter, Hester. Although she was kind 
and pleasant to all the military men who sought hospitality 
and entertainment beneath her father's roof, she showed 
a marked preference to the gallant soldier who commanded 
the Guard of the Commander-in-Chief. That this friend- 
ship developed into a sentiment stronger than mere liking 
is evident from the fact that immediately after the war 
Captain Colfax repaired to Pompton and there, on August 
27, 1783, he married Hester Schuyler. 

Fifty-five years and a little over after this date the 
remains of William Colfax, dressed in his uniform as Briga- 
dier-General, were laid in the family burial plot and there 
may be seen today the shaft which marks his last resting- 
place. Those fifty-five years were filled with toil, ease and 


honor for the most prominent Revolutionary character of 
what is now Passaic county — toil being his share as a farmer, 
ease his share when he had accumulated enough of this 
world's goods to render him- independent, and honor his 
share as justice of the peace, judge of the Court of Common 
Pleas, assemblyman and Brigadier-General of the Second 
Division of Infantry of Bergen county. Only once were the 
peaceful pursuits interrupted during all these years; in 1812 
there was another war with England and Brigadier-General 
Colfax had a command at Sandy Hook. He remained in 
the service of his country until peace was again declared and 
then returned to Pompton and his family. In 1824 he was 
among those who took part in the welcome to Lafayette 
on that general's return visit to this country; he led the 
local military in the great parade in Newark and accompa- 
nied the French general to Hackensack, then along the 
Goffle towards Paterson and he saw the agitation of the 
visitor there when he noticed the rude memorial, only a 
plain board with a suitable inscription, placed there by 
some of his former soldiers, which indicated the spot where 
Lafayette's tent had stood during the dark days of the 
Revolution ; he led the march through the streets of Pater- 
son and partook of the banquet tendered to the French 
general by the grateful and patriotic citizens of Paterson. 

Brigadier-General Colfax died September 9, 1838, aged 
eighty-two years and two months. His body was escorted 
to the grave by the military of Paterson; the old Dutch 
Reformed church at Pompton never held a larger sorrowing 
multitude than listened to the funeral oration delivered by 
the Rev. Isaac S. Demarest. 


There was still another resident of Passaic county who 
attained eminence during the Revolution. His name was 


Daniel Niel and in early life he was a merchant in New 
York city. He removed to Acquackanonk about 1773 and 
kept a store where the park is now located at Passaic Bridge. 
At the outbreak of the war those of his neighbors who still 
remained loyal to England made life as unpleasant for him 
as possible and he sustained severe pecuniary losses. He 
joined an Essex county regiment in July, 1775, and became 
adjutant; he was transferred to the artillery and as captain- 
lieutenant of such, at the head of his corps, he was killed, 
January 3, 1777, at the battle of Princeton. 


But all the people who lived hereabouts in 1775 were 
not anxious to see this a free country ; there were some who 
preferred loyalty to the home country to freedom in their 
new homes, but it is pleasant to record that there were not 
many of them. Two, who were the most prominent, were 
Robert Drummond and Joseph Ryerson. Drummond was 
a wealthy merchant and ship-owner at Acquakanonk Land- 
ing. When trouble between this country and England first 
became apparent, his thoughts and counsel were with the 
American cause; he was a member of the Provincial Con- 
gress and its speaker for two terms, but when war broke out 
he tendered his services to his king and organized the 
Second Battalion of New Jersey Volunteers and was com- 
missioned its major. He enlisted about two hundred men, 
principally from the Bergen county side of the river. He 
saw service in the South, where most of his men fell victims 
to disease consequent upon the climate. After the war he 
removed to England, where he died in 1789. As a reward 
for his services he received a pension, and also a farm in 
Nova Scotia; his brother, David, espoused the cause of this 
country and his reward was a farm in New York state. 

Joseph Ryerson was bom at Pequannock, February 28, 
1761. He entered the army as a cadet when he was only 


fifteen years of age and rose to the lieutenancy in the Prince 
of Wales's regiment; as such he distinguished himself at 
Charleston. His reward was a tract of land in Ontario. He 
and his three sons saw service in the war of 1812, after 
which he returned to Ontario, where he died August 9, 

The Early White Settlers. 

The Early White Settlers 

The land at present occupied by the city of Paterson, 
and a great deal of land on all sides of it, belonged to the 
Indians until March 28, 1679, for on that date the following 
deed was given : 

Know all men by these Presents that I Captahem Indian Sachem 
and Chief, Owner of a certain tract of Laud Lying and being upon 
Pisawyck River knowne by the name of Haquequenunck, Have for my 
Selfe my Heires and Assignes, in the Presence and by the aprobation 
and consent of Memiserean, Mindawas, Ghonnajea, Indians and Sachems 
of the said Contry, for an In Consideration of a certain Prcel of goods, 
Blankets, kettles powder and other Goods to my Content and Satisfac- 
tion In hand paid, by Hans Dederick, Gerret Garretson, Walling 
Jacobs and Hendrick George, The Receipt whereof I do hereby acknowl- 
edge to have received to my Content and Satisfaction given, alienated 
bargained and sold unto the said Hans Dedericks, Gerrit Gerritsen, 
Walling Jacobs, Hendrick George and their Associates all and singular 
the abovementioned tract of land and the meadows adjoining beginning 
from the northernmost bounds of the Towne of Newark from the Lower- 
most part thereof to the uppermost as fare as the steep Rocks or 
Mountaines, and from thence to the Run all along the said 

Pisawick River to the White Oak Tree standing neere the said River 
on the north side of a small brook, and from thence up to 

the steep Rocks or Mountains, Which said tree was marked by the said 
Captaham In the prsence of La Prairie Surveyor-General. 

This deed was given by the Lenni Lenape, a tribe of 
aborigines who roamed all over New Jersey, and the deed 
was good enough as far as it went, but Indian deeds never 
went very far, as the purchasers mentioned in the deed 
soon ascertained to be the case in this particular instance. 
King Charles II. of England had made a present in 1664 to 
his brother, James, Duke of York, afterwards King James 
II., of all the land now comprised in New England, New 
York and New Jersey, and the Duke of York had given title 


to New Jersey to two of his friends and from these the Lords 
Proprietors, there were twenty-four of them, obtained the 
whole of New Jersey. So the men who had bought the 
lands from the Indians associated themselves with several 
others, and on March 16, 1684, the land passed from the 
Lords Proprietors into the possession of "Hans Didericke, 
Garrett Garretson, Walling Jacobs, Elias Machielson, Hart- 
man Machielson, Johannes Machielson, Cornelius Machiel- 
son, Adrian Post, Uriah Tomason, Cornelius Rowlafson, 
Symon Jacobs, John Hendrick Speare, Cornelius Lubbers, 
and Abraham Bookey," for fifty pounds cash down, fourteen 
pounds a year and one half of all the gold and silver that 
might be mined on the property. The sale of this land is 
generally referred to as the Acquakanonk patent. The deed 
conveyed about 4,000 of the 5,357 acres in Paterson, all of 
the city, excepting the First and Second wards and a portion 
of the Seventh ward. 


If the fourteen owners of the newly-acquired property 
had divided it up into equal shares, every one of them 
would have had more real estate than he would have known 
what to do with ; accordingly each took a hundred acre lot, 
the rest being held in common, until the increase in popula- 
tion called for another division. After the second parcel of 
fourteen lots had been distributed, the owners laid out four- 
teen lots along the river and called these lots Goutum, after 
a village in North Holland, a name subsequently corrupted 
into Gotham. The next parcelling, about 1701, divided up 
the property running along the river from near where the 
New York, Susquehanna & Western railroad crosses the 
river near Dundee Lake to Garret Mountain above the 

A division made in 1714, however, is of more interest 
to the people of Paterson. The owners of the property 


drew a straight line on a piece of paper, the beginning of 
a map made with pen and ink ; the straight line is now East 
Eighteenth street, although for many years it was called 
York avenue. Then they divided up the property lying 
on both sides of this line, thirteen plots on one side and 
fifteen on the other. This map is reproduced on the next 
page. In order that the lettering may be understood by 
people of the present day, accustomed to a different kind of 
writing, the following explanation will be of assistance: 

On the east side of the dividing line Lot No. 1 belonged 
to Frans (Francis) Post, being south of People's Park, 
No. 2 to Hessel Pieterse, No. 3 to Abram Van Riper, No. 4 
to Elias Vreeland, No. 5 to Arie (Adrian) Post, No. 6 to 
John Van Blarcom, his northerly line being the present 
Park avenue. No. 7 to Simeon Van Winkle, extending to 
Thirteenth avenue on the north and the river on the east, 
No. 8 to Magiel (Michael) Vreeland, No. 9 to Simeon Van 
Winkle, between Twelfth avenue and the river. No. 10 to 
Abram Van Riper, No. 11 to Henderic (Henry) Spier, No. 
12 to Michael Vreeland, No. 13 to John Bradberry, No. 14 
to Henderic Garretse (Henry Garrison), at Riverside, No. 15 
to Michael Vreeland. On the west side of the dividing line 
No. 1, near the Passaic Rolling Mill, belonged to Michael 
Vreeland, No. 2 to Elias Vreeland, No. 3 to Henry Post, No. 
4 to Jacobus Post, No. 5 to Hessel Pieterse and Gerrit Van 
Wagenen, No. 6 to John Van Blarcom, No. 7 to Abram 
Thomasse, No. 8 to Henderic Spier, Nos. 9 and 10 to Derrick 
(Richard) Van Houten, Nos. 11 and 12 to Adrian Post and 
No. 13 to Comelis Garritse (Cornelius Garrison). 

When it came to dividing up what is now known as the 
over-the-river section of Paterson the early settlers again 
had recourse to paper and ink and a crude attempt at mak- 
ing a map. Property including Garret mountain and the 
territory lying along the river as far up as the Peckamin 

Nearrisi Ave. 

PuvV CtvA 

8« 7th and 

7*0^ Cuv^ 





river was purchased because it was feared that timber would 
soon be scarce in Paterson. The property belonged to Peter 
Sonmans, a son of one of the East Jersey Proprietors, and 
he sold it, November 27, 1711, to Frans Post, Harmanus 
Gerritse, Thomas Juriantse, Christopher Steenmetz, Cornelis 
Doremus, Peter Poulusse and Hessel Pieterse, for six hun- 
dred and sixty pounds. It was customary in those days for 
purchasers of property to pay an annual rent in addition 
to the purchase price; in this case the price paid was con- 
sidered so large that the annual quit-rent was made as 
small as possible and so it was fixed at one peppercorn a 


The early settlers, especially in the northern part of 
New Jersey, were honest in their dealings with the Indians. 
The right of the red man to the soil was recognized, despite 
deeds given by the Lords Proprietors and this right con- 
tinued to be recognized long after the Revolution. Little by 
little the Indians sold their lands to the white settlers and 
went to the western country, many from New Jersey going 
to Green Bay, Wisconsin. The few Indians that were left 
were anxious to join their people in the West and so in 
1822 the state of New Jersey made a bargain with the Indi- 
ans by which the latter received $3,551.23 in return for the 
last piece of land not then owned by the white settlers. 
The Indians used this money in going West and in buying 
land there. Ten years later they remembered that they 
still had the right to hunt and fish in New Jersey, for when- 
ever they had sold land it was agreed that they should be 
permitted to continue hunting and fishing. There were 
only forty New Jersey Indians left at Green Bay and these 
thought New Jersey ought to pay them two thousand dollars 
and they would call everything square. Two thousand dol- 
lars looked like a big sum to these Indians but they received 


it promptly, thus ending the last claim they had to land and 
rights in New Jersey. They wrote a letter of thanks to 
New Jersey, in which they said : 

Not a drop of our blood have you spilled in battle — not an acre 
of land have you taken but with our consent. These are the facts 
and we need say no more. We wish that other states where Indians 
still live would do as New Jersey has done. Nothing but blessings can 
fall upon her from the lips of a Lenni Lenape. 


A number of places near Paterson still have the names 
given to them by the Lenni Lenape. Among these are the 
following : 

Acquackanonk. This word is made up the Indian ach- 
quoa-ni-can, meaning a brush net; hanne, a rapid stream; 
onk, a place, and so it means a place in a rapid stream where 
fish are taken with a brush net. As in numerous other 
places in the Passaic river the Indians had built a V-shaped 
dam; at the sharp point they placed a lot of brush; the 
fish in coming down the stream became entangled in this 
brush and the Indians secured them by suddenly pulling the 
brush out of the water. Many of the Dutch settlers called 
the place Slooterdam, which means a dam with a gate in it. 
Others tried to pronounce it the way the Indians did. Now, 
the Indian was not very plain pronouncing his words; in 
fact, his speech sounded as if his tongue were thicker than 
ours or as if he always had several pieces of chewing gum 
in his mouth. So the early settlers had an easy time of it 
spelling Acquackanonk, for they could spell it any way and 
none could say they were wrong. Glancing over the early 
records conveys the impression that the early settlers tried 
to spell the name in a different way each time they were 
called upon to write it. Here are some of the different 
spellings found in ofl&cial records: 1678 — Aquickenuncke, 
Haquicqueenock ; 1679 — Haquequenunck, Aquegnonke; 
1680 — Hockquekanung; 1682 — Acqueyquinunke; 1683 — 


Aquaninoncke, Hockquecanung; 1684 — Aquaquanuncke ; 
1685 — Aquickanuncke, Haquequenunck ; 1692 — Acquica- 
nunck; 1693 — Acquiggenonck ; Hockquickanon ; 1694 — 
Hackquickanon ; 1696 — Aqueckanonge; Achquickenoungh, 
Acquachanongue, Achquickanunk, Hackquickenunk ; 1689 
— Aqueckkonunque, Aquoechononque, Achquikanuncque, 
Achquickenonk ; 1706 — Acquikanong ; 1707 — Hockquacka- 
nong, Hockquackanonk ; 1714 — Achquegenonck ; 1736 — 
Haghquagenonck ; 1737 — Acquagkanonk. In later years, 
when people were too busy to bother with so many letters, 
the place was called Quacknick. 

Campgaw, or Camp-Gaw, as it is frequently spelled. 
Indian, kaaka, wild goose, and gawi, a hedgehog, perhaps 
the names of two Indians combined into one. 

Communipaw. Indian, gamunk, on the other side of 
the river, and pe-auke, water-land, meaning the big landing- 
place from the other side of the river. 

Goffle. At this place two roads forked, one leading to 
Hackensack and the other to Pompton. The Indians called 
the place lalchauwiechen, which means the fork of a road. . 
The Dutch translated the word "fork" iinto their own 
language, gaffle; from gaffle to goffle is easy enough. 

Hackensack. Indian haki, place ; gischi, now ; achgook, 
snake ; a place with plenty of snakes. 

Hoboken. Indian, hopoacan, a pipe. 

Hohokus. Indian, ho, a shout ; hokes, bark of a tree. 
According to the Indians the cold was so intense at this 
place that the bark of the trees cracked with a loud noise. 

Mahwah. Indian for field. 

Macopin. Indian, macopanaackhan, place where; 
pumpkins grow. 

Moonachie. Indian, munhacke, a badger. 

Pamrapo. Indian, pemapuchk, a big rock. 

Paramus. Indian, a place for wild turkeys. 


Pascack. Indian, where the roads divide. 

Passaic. Indian, pach, to split; ic, where. Perhaps 
indicating the division of the land into a valley, or the 
place where the river splits the rocks at the Falls. There 
have been a number of changes in the spelling of this word. 
It started out with Passaic in 1666, but changed the same 
year into Passaick; in 1676 it was Pasayak, in 1679 Passa- 
wack, Pisawick, Pissaick; in 1682 Pasawicke, Passaiack; in 
1686 Pissaik; in 1695 Passaya, in 1713 Passaiack. 

Peckman. A small river, near Little Falls, the proper 
spelling being Peckamin. Indian, pakihm, cranberries. 

Pequannock, with all its dififerent spellings. Indian, 
pauqu-un-auke, land cleared for ploughing. 

Preakness. • Indian, per-ukunces, a young buck. 

Sicomac. Indian, kitchi, great, and kanik, enclosed 

Singack. Indian, schinghacki, a flat country, or schin- 
gask, a marshy meadow. 

Slank. Indian, sihillen, where the river subsides, and 
hannek, a flowing river, the backwater from a freshet. 

Succasunna. Indian, suken, black, and achsun, stone,, 
black iron ore. 

Totowa. Indian, tetauwi, between, that is, land be- 
tween the river and the mountain. Or, perhaps the Lennie; 
Lenape borrowed this word from the Cree totawew, mean- 
ing great strength, as shown by the river at the Falls. "^^i*! 

Wanaque or Wynockie. Indian, winak, sassafras, and 
aki, place. 

Wagaraw. Indian, woakeu, crooked, and aki, place, 
that is, where the land is crooked, due to the bend in the 

Watchung. Indian, wachtschu, a hill, or wadchu, a 

Watsessing. Indian, wadchu, mountain, and achsun, 
stone, a stony mountain. 

Struggle for Industrial Supremacy. 

Struggle for Industrial Supremacy. 

Benjamin Franklin wrote in 1760 that it would take 
"some centuries" to populate this country as far as the 
Mississippi river, and that ''our present colonies will not, 
during the period we have mentioned, find themselves in a 
condition to manufacture, even for their own inhabitants, 
to any considerable degree, much less for those who are 
settling behind them." In 1768 he wrote that manufactures 
were not desirable excepting for the purpose of making use 
of the time of the children and servants of farmers. John 
Adams wrote in 1780: "America will not make manufac- 
tures enough for her own consumption these thousand 
years." George Washington said that manufactures were 
well enough for "women and children, without taking the 
really necessary hand from tilling the earth." All of which 
tends to show that even men with great brains make mis- 
takes, especially when they try to look into the future. 


Alexander Hamilton did not agree with these three 
great men; he believed in manufacturing in this country 
and, from what he did and from what he said in his letters, 
it appears that he was willing to do it all. In 1790 he was 
Secretary of the Treasury and the men who had been 
elected in the various states to make laws asked him to tell 
them what could be done towards manufacturing in this 
country ; the men who asked this question, like most of the 
other people here at that time, believed that America was 
good only to raise crops of grain and fruit, and so Hamilton 


was asked to answer the question put to him on the supposi- 
tion that America might have to do some manufacturing on 
account of possible wars in the future. Hamilton set to 
work and wrote a long report, which he sent to the law- 
makers on December 5, 1791. In this he said that there 
were a great many articles which America could make and 
that he knew of some men who had met and who were 
ready to put up a great deal of money to start factories. 
But he did not say that he was one of these men, which, 
however, was the fact. At that time all cotton brought into 
this country had to pay a tax to the government; Hamilton 
thought this tax ought to be done away with; he went 
further and said that men making cotton here ought to re- 
ceive money from the government to help them along and 
then added that this money should not be paid to all per- 
sons, but only to such as had formed a company to weave 
cotton. Hamilton did his best to take care of the company 
he was about to form. Some time later he let it be known 
that this company was ready to receive men who were 
ready to join it, that is, men who had money. Hamilton 
was a great man and people believed what he said and so it 
was not long before men with money were heard from, all 
anxious to be partners of Hamilton. Even some of the 
Dutch bankers in Amsterdam, in Holland, wrote letters and 
sent money in order to become partners. Newspapers in 
New York, Philadelphia and Boston printed long articles, 
telling wonderful stories about the money that would be 
sure to be made by the "New National Manufactory," as 
it was called. There is good reason to believe that Hamil- 
ton wrote some of these articles. People were next told 
that the big factory was to be built in New York, New 
Jersey or Pennsylvania and this brought more money from 
New York and Philadelphia. In this way altogether over a 
hundred thousand dollars was promised. According to Ham- 
ilton's letters he never had any idea of building the factory 


anywhere else than at the falls of the Passaic, in the state 
of New Jersey, at a place then called Acquackanonk. But 
Hamilton did not make public this idea of his at the time, 
for fear that some of the men who did not live near the 
Passaic Falls might not contribute the money he expected 
from them. 


Feeling certain that there would be plenty of money 
for the factory, Hamilton next wrote a proposed law accord- 
ing to which the name of the new company was to be the 
Society for Establishing Useful Manufactures; this society 
was to be given the right to build factories and also to start 
a town and the name of this town was to be Paterson. Why 
Paterson? Because Paterson was the name of the governor 
of New Jersey and Hamilton wanted the lawmakers of New 
Jersey to make the law he wanted and he thought it would 
help him if he were to call the new town after the governor. 
When the New Jersey lawmakers took the matter up they 
were glad to oblige the great Secretary of the Treasury of 
the United States and the governor of the state of New- 
Jersey and so Hamilton got all he wanted. ;. „ i. r.,v 

Before the law was passed there was a great deal of 
talk among the lawmakers. It was settled that the new 
town of Paterson with its big factories and its own govern- 
ment was to be placed somewhere in New Jersey, but just 
where the law did not say. Every member of the legisla- 
ture wanted it in his own county. Lawmakers who saw 
that chances of getting the town in the county they repre- 
sented were poor made a fight against it. The people in 
Middlesex county saw that their chances were poor and so 
they did not want any other county to win. They thought 
that a million dollars was too much money for any company 
to have, and the law provided that the Society might have 


just that much. But the funniest objection came from a 
man who thought that it was wrong to give the Society the 
right to build canals; he said that some lunatic might 
think it would be fine if a canal were built from the Dela- 
ware river to Raritan bay and that, if that were done, 
many farms would be cut into two pieces so that farmers 
could not get from one part to the other; it would kill all 
the fruit trees and make everybody poor along the line of 
the canal. Forty years afterwards that very canal was 
built, not by the Society, but by other men, but none of the 
horrible things happened which the man from Middlesex 
county had seen in the future. After a great deal of talk 
the lawmakers voted and the result was that Hamilton won 
and the law, or charter, was passed, on November 22, 1791. 


Who was William Paterson, after whom Paterson was 
named? He was an Irishman, who arrived in this country 
in 1745, when he was two years old. His parents took him 
to Trenton, where they lived for some time; afterwards 
they moved to Princeton and then to Somerville. He went 
tc college at Princeton and then studied law in the office 
of Richard Stockton, one of the men who signed the Decla- 
ration of Independence. In 1775, when this country had 
begun its war for freedom, he was elected to the Provincial 
Congress, the body of men who made laws for the young 
republic, and he was chosen secretary. He was made at- 
torney-general of New Jersey and in 1790 elected governor 
of the state. Afterwards Washington made him one of the 
judges of the Supreme Court of the United States. So 
Paterson has no reason to be ashamed of the name it was 
given. Paterson died in Albany, New York, September 9, 


THE state's unprofitable INVESTMENT. 

A few days after the lawmakers of New Jersey had 
made the law creating the Society for Establishing Useful 
Manufactures they made another law by which $10,000 
was taken from the state treasury and invested in the stock 
of the Society. (The state probably never made a poorer 
investment. It subsequently sold this stock to the So- 
ciety, taking in exchange some acres of what even in those 
days was called Sandy Hill. In later days, when the popula- 
tion of Paterson had increased a great deal, the Sandy Hill 
property was still considered about as poor as could be 
found in the whole city. In order to get rid of it the state 
sold it to various churches for burying grounds, the uniform 
price paid being fifty dollars an acre. This was the origin 
of the Sandy Hill cemeteries; it is only a few years ago 
since the remains of the dead were removed from these 
burying grounds and the property bought by the city.) 


Yet with everything that had been done for the Society 
the total amount of money promised was only $243,000 in- 
stead of the million dollars Hamilton and his friends had 
looked for. Of the money promised $15,000 was never 

The members of the Society met in New Brunswick on 
the last Monday in November, 1791, and on the 9th of the 
following month elected officers at a meeting also held in 
New Brunswick. William Duer, a New York merchant, 
was elected governor and John Bayard deputy governor. 
Duer was related to Hamilton by marriage and it was Ham- 
ilton who made him governor. At this same meeting a 
letter was received from Hamilton in which he told about 
engaging a number of men as superintendents of the factory 


and, as these men had all worked in cotton mills, it was 
plain that the Society was to make cotton goods. The di- 
rectors approved of everything Hamilton had done. On 
the following day the directors agreed to put advertisements 
in newspapers asking men to answer who had lots for sale 
on which factories might be built. On January 19 the di- 
rectors agreed to bring men from England, forty or fifty at 
least, men who knew how to weave and print cotton goods, 
and they paid Hamilton and the governor fifty thousand 
dollars to get these men to this country. 

It will be seen that Hamilton and his friends were 
getting along very nicely, but all they had done was only on 
paper. They had a charter, but the charter was like the 
man who was "all dressed up and nowhere to go." The 
place where Paterson with its big factory was to be put had 
not been selected. So, on January 20 the directors decided 
that Paterson and its factory should be located on one of 
three rivers, the Delaware, the Raritan or the Passaic, and 
a committee was appointed to decide which. 

At a meeting on the following day the directors con- 
cluded that they had better get a little more money. The 
charter of the Society gave them the right to make a hun- 
dred thousand dollars by running a lottery and so the di- 
rectors decided to have a lottery. Tickets were to be sold 
at a few dollars each and each ticket was to be numbered ; 
then some day a lot of numbers were to be placed in a 
wheel and the first number taken out by chance would give 
the man who had that number on his ticket a big cash 
prize. There were a number of smaller prizes and the whole 
thing was fixed up in a way which was all right in those 
days but for which men would be sent to jail if they tried 
it at the present day. On April 20 the directors gave up 
the idea of having a lottery, as nobody seemed anxious to 
buy tickets. 



Hamilton was present at three meetings of the directors 
held in Newark on May 16, 17 and 18. It was then decided 
that the town of Paterson should be located on the Passaic 
river, between the residence of "Mr. Isaac Gouvemeur near 
the town of Newark and Chatham Bridge." That was a 
poor way of saying "at the Passaic Falls," but the directors 
knew what they meant. So, on July 4, 1792, the directors 
came to where Paterson is located today; they brought 
with them the book in which they had written down all 
they had done; this same book, in which is written the 
advice of Alexander Hamilton as this advice fell from his 
lips, is still used at the present day to record the doings of 
the Society; there are only a few leaves left to write on, 
but as the directors of the Society meet very seldom, it may 
last some years yet; it is kept in the vaults of the water 
company on Ellison street and it is from this book that the 
writer has received a great deal of the information con- 
tained in this chapter. 

When the directors of the Society came to the place 
they had agreed to call Paterson, they found very few houses 
here. They met General Schuyler at the house of Abraham 
Godwin and the general and Mr. Godwin took them around 
and showed them the country. They put their heads to- 
gether and agreed to dig two canals from above the Falls to 
make use of the water to turn the wheels of the factory. 
One of these canals was to empty into the river near Pas- 
saic and the other near Newark and it was at the latter 
place that Governor Duer said the factory ought to be built. 
Hamilton wanted to know where the money was coming 
from to dig all these miles of canals and when he insisted 
that the factory should be built a great deal nearer the 
Falls they all agreed with him. They then bought about 
seven hundred acres above and below the Falls, paying 


therefor the sum of three thousand, two hundred and nme- 
ty-three pounds, eight shillings and three pence. On July 5 
the directors resolved to build at onoe: a mill for spinning 
cotton; a print works for cotton goods, calicoes; another 
mill for spinning and also for weaving, and a number of 
houses for the people who were to work in these mills. On 
the following day they decided that the number of houses 
for the workmen should be fifty, that each house should be 
twenty-four by eighteen feet in size, with cellar and garret, 
and that these houses, together with a quarter of an acre of 
land each, should be rented for $12.50 a year each or sold for 
$250 to any workmen who would agree to pay that sum 
within twenty years. Bargains just as good for more ex- 
pensive houses were offered to the superintendents. The 
directors also agreed to put up a saw mill at once. 


To do all this work it was necessary to have an en- 
gineer and so the Society engaged the services of Major 
Charles Pierre L'Enfant, a Frenchman who had come to this 
country in Lafayette's army. The major was a friend of 
Hamilton and of Washington and he had just laid out the 
city of Washington. He had some big ideas and when he 
had looked the ground over and told what he was going to 
do the newspapers stated that Paterson would be a city 
that would ''far surpass anything yet seen in this country." 
He intended to lay out Paterson as h-e had Washington, the 
central point here being a small elevation between what are 
now Main, Grand and Ward streets and sloping down almost 
to where the Erie tracks now are. The hill was afterwards 
known as Colt's Hill. From this hill were to be laid out a 
large number of avenues running to distant points of the 
future city. 

The newspapers of the day spoke in high terms of the 
future of the "National Manufactory," and the big city that 


was to be attached to it. One article, which took up about 
three columns, was published in several newspapers; it was 
probably written by Hamilton. The following are some of 
the articles that were to be made: cotton, woolens, paper 
for books and for walls, hats of straw and felt, shoes and 
leather goods generally, carriages,, pottery of all kinds, 
bricks, iron pots, steel buttons. The land in and about 
Paterson became very valuable. 

All this sounds very big, even in the present day of big 
doings, but the dreams of Hamilton and his friends were 
not always very pleasant. A great deal of success was ex- 
pected to come on account of the wealth and influence of 
William Duer, the governor of the Society, but there had 
been trouble in the markets of New York and Duer found 
himself in jail because he could not pay his debts. Of 
course, Hamilton did not like this, for Duer was his friend 
and a jail is not a good place in which to direct the putting 
up of buildings fifteen miles away. Of all the money that 
had been promised the Society had received only $60,000 
and so the Society was short of cash. The banks in New York 
did not want to lend the Society any money ; at last $5,000 
was received as a loan from the Bank of New York, but 
only after Hamilton had given his written security as he 
did when he wrote to the president of the bank: "To you, 
my dear sir, I will not scruple to say, in confidence, that the 
bank of New York shall suffer no diminution of its pecuni- 
ary facilities from any accommodation it may afford to the 
Society in question." 


In the mean time Major L'Enfant had been making 
more plans ; he wanted to build a big raceway, running from 
above the Falls to where Passaic now stands; this raceway 
was to be built of solid masonry, high up in the air, and 


there were to be mills and factories along both sides. So 
the Society employed the major to build a tavern and then 
got rid of him. In his place came Peter Colt, a man with no 
big ideas but with a great deal of common sense. He got 
together a number of men with picks and shovels and built 
a raceway just about the way people built them in those 
days, with no masonry or fancy trimmings. But the direc- 
tors of the Society were anxious to begin spinning cotton, 
for the men were here for that purpose, and the directors 
would not wait until the water was let into the raceway to 
turn the wheels of the big factory yet to be built. Peter 
Colt therefore put up a small frame mill, in which the power 
needed to turn the wheels was furnished by an ox ; and so it 
happened that the first mill ever built in Paterson to spin 
cotton was named the Bull Mill. Then work was begun 
on the big mill ; a street was laid out in front of where it was 
to be built and this street was named Mill street and it has 
that name to the present day. The mill was built of stone 
and wood and was four stories high; on top of it was a 
cupola and in this hung a bell which called the men to work. 
A building, where printing and bleaching calico was to be 
done, was erected on what is now Bridge street. A great 
deal of the machinery was brought from Europe, for there 
were few machine shops in this country. Some small fittings 
of brass and iron were brought from Wilmington, Delaware, 
the nearest place to Paterson where such things were made. 
A man was given fifty thousand dollars, with which to bring 
men and machinery from Europe; just as if Hamilton and 
his friends did not have trouble enough, the man disap- 
peared with the money. The big mill did not begin work 
until 1794. 


In the meantime the Society was trying to raise more 
money and, as it was badly needed, the directors fell back 


on the lottery scheme. They offered to pay people for selling 
tickets, but very few persons wanted the tickets. When an 
attempt was made to sell them in Boston and New York, 
it was found that laws had been passed there forbidding lot- 
teries; the Society asked the lawmakers of New York to 
change the law in the interest of the big "National Manu- 
factory," but the lawmakers would not do as requested. 
Finally the whole lottery scheme was thrown aside and the 
Society, instead of making money out of it, lost a large part 
of the little that was left. 

Then came what was probably the first strike in Pater- 
son: the hands employed in the bleaching and printing 
wanted more wages; the Society settled the strike very 
promptly by closing the works on Bridge street and dis- 
continuing bleaching and printing. As a final effort to raise 
money the Society reduced the prices of its houses and lots, 
but times were hard and nobody wanted to buy, and so, in 
January, 1796, the directors closed up the big mill and went 
out of the business of manufacturing and never resumed it 
afterwards. Fire destroyed the mill in 1807. 


Peter Colt was born in Lyme, Conn. At the breaking 
out of the Revolution he enlisted in the American army 
and had a command under Aaron Burr in the attack on 
Canada. He was subsequently aid to General Worcester in 
the regiments from Connecticut. He spoke French fluently 
and Washington made use of this in his intercourse with the 
French army. He was with the French army at the sur- 
render of Cornwallis at Yorktown. After peace had been 
declared he returned to Connecticut and, while treasurer of 
that state, was induced to come to Paterson at the solicita- 
tion of Dr. Elias Boudinot, whom he had met some years 
previous at Boonton. He had two sons, John and Roswell 


L., the latter frequently referred to as "the greatest of all 
the Colts." John was active in various manufacturing en- 
terprises in early Paterson ; his son, E. Boudinot, carried on 
the manufacture of duck until 1865, occupying the Duck 
mill on Van Houten street and the Essex mill on Mill 

Samuel Colt, a distant relative, was the inventor of 
the celebrated Colt's revolver. He made his first pistol, of 
wood, in 1829 ; in 1835 he organized the Patent Arms com- 
pany, which had possession of the building even now known 
as the Gun mill. He subsequently removed to Connecti- 


"The greatest of all the Colts" had made a great deal 
of money in the shipping business and had married a woman 
who had a great deal more than he had ; she was the daugh- 
ter of Robert Oliver, a shipping merchant of Baltimore, con- 
sidered at that time one of the wealthiest men in the 
country. Roswell L. was attracted to Paterson and made 
up his mind that he would buy the whole place. In order 
to do this he got $150,000 from his father-in-law and he 
soon owned about all there was of Paterson. He had been 
married a good many years when he determined to live in 
Paterson. He looked about for a place on which to erect a 
mansion and selected the small hill on what is now Main 
street, opposite the county jail, the same small hill which 
Major L'Enfant had intended to make the centre of Pater- 
son. He told his wife about it, but she would have none of 
it; the idea of erecting a residence on a small sandhill when 
there was such a fine site as Garret mountain nearby did 
not appeal to her. She insisted on living on Garret moun- 
tain and she would live nowhere else, unless it were in 
Europe. As the two could not agree on this question they 


determined to separate and this they did. When it came 
to dividing the children — there were ten of them — they did 
not do so according to the number to be divided, but in 
accordance with the wealth of the parents. It was finally 
agreed that Mrs. Colt should^ take six and have the first 
pick. She selected the six oldest and took them to Europe 
with her, where she died some years later. 

Work was at once begun at the erection of Colt's Hill. 
Hundreds of men were employed at carting soil and big 
trees and shrubbery to the small sandhill and in the course 
of time that small sandhill assumed majestic proportions: on 
the very top was built a mansion which has become historic, 
for it was there that Roswell L. Colt entertained Daniel 
Webster and other great men of his day. He had a large 
retinue of servants and lived in princely style. The picture 
of Colt's Hill, which appears on an adjoining page, was 
taken from the roof of St. John's Catholic church when that 
building was in the course of erection. There were twO' 
roads leading to the mansion, one from what is now De- 
Grasse street and the other from the comer of Main and 
Ward streets ; the old lodge still stands on that corner. The 
small building showing in the picture was the dwelling of 
the gatekeeper; the long building represents the hothouses. 
For many years Roswell L. Colt, with his four children^ 
Thomas, Roswell, Jr., Morgan G. and Julia, later the wife 
of DeGrasse B. Fowler, lived in this mansion. 


In the picture will be observed two statues standing at 
the entrance of the mansion as it faces Grand street. There 
is an interesting history connected with these two statues. 
James Thom was born, April 19, 1802, in Scotland, near a 
place where Robert Burns had lived for some years. He was 
a poor lad and was set to work in a factory where he showed 


a disposition to carving things out of wood. Some friends 
helped him along and he began cutting out of stone two 
statues representing Burns's principal characters, Tam 0' 
Shanter and Souter Johnnie. The statues were at once 
pronounced works of art and Thom became famous. The 
first two he made were exhibited throughout the British 
isles and netted the sum of two thousand pounds, which was 
divided equally between Thom and the committee having 
charge of the erection of the Burns monument at Alloway. 
Thom tried his hand at other statues but these did not in- 
crease his fame and, as he had received orders from men of 
wealth for no less than sixteen replicas of his Tam O'Shanter 
and Souter Johnnie, he devoted himself to chiseling out 
Tams and Johnnies. He made considerable money exhibit- 
ing his statues, when one day he found out that an agent he 
had trusted had decamped to America, taking with him a 
<;onsiderable sum of money belonging to Thom. Thom at 
once chased to America after him, but when he had recov- 
ered what was his due he concluded that America was a good 
country to live in, and so determined to stay. His fame had 
preceded him and he obtained the contract for furnishing 
the ornamental stonework on the present Trinity church in 
New York. He looked about the neighborhood for suitable 
stone and decided on the red sandstone at Little Falls. He 
subsequently removed to Ramapo where he lived the life of 
a gentleman farmer until the day of his death, April 17, 

While he was working at his contract with the Trinity 
church people he made another pair of Tam O'Shanter and 
Souter Johnnie, his intention being to exhibit them in this 
country. Roswell L. Colt saw them and at once bought 
them, for he wanted something as an ornament for his 
piazza. Thom made another pair and these started on an 
exhibition tour throughout the country; while being ferried 
across Chesapeake Bay the boat sprang a leak in a storm 













and went down, Tarn and Johnnie and all. This left Roswell 
L. Colt as the only possessor of a Tarn O'Shanter and Souter 
Johnnie in this country and added to the fame of his man- 
sion. The two statues have been reproduced on numerous 
occasions in bronze and other metals. 

A woman called one day at the Colt mansion to see the 
owner. She went to the kitchen entrance and inquired 
when Mr. Colt would be at leisure. She was told that Mr. 
Colt was not at home, but she declared that he was, for she 
had just seen him talking to one of his friends on the piazza 
and she was near enough to him to recognize him. This 
may afford the reader some idea as to what Roswell L. Colt 
looked like. 

In 1889 Morgan G. Colt and Mrs. DeGrasse B. Fowler, 
the two surviving children of Roswell L. Colt, determined 
to cut down Colt's Hill in order that the property might be 
put in the market. (The hill was removed two years later.) 
The mansion had long been abandoned as a residence, Tam 
O'Shanter and Souter Johnnie standing guard in solitary 
grandeur. So the owners of the precious pair made a present 
of them to the trustees of the Public Library and they were 
transferred to the entrance of the old library building on the 
corner of Market and Church streets, and here they ended 
their existence in the great fire in February, 1902. 


Roswell L. Colt did a great deal for the city of Pater- 
son : his attempts at re-establishing manufacturing did not 
prove successful, but he will ever live in grateful remem- 
brance on account of his numerous gifts to churches and 
other institutions in Paterson. He had a great deal to do 
with shaping the destiny of the city. 

Peter Colt had begun laying out streets and naming 
them and Roswell continued in his father's footsteps. Be- 


tween the two and a few others streets in Paterson were 
named as follows : , 

Boudinot street, named after Elias Boudinot, is the 
present Van Houten street, between Main street and the 
raceways. Van Houten street, named after Abraham Van 
Houten, who assisted Peter Colt in the laying out of the 
street, originally began about where Washington street 
crosses it at the present day and extended easterly. When 
the hill between Washington and Main streets was cut down 
Van Houten street was extended through to Main street; 
as it came out directly opposite Boudinot street, both streets 
were thenceforth called Van Houten. 

There was a somewhat similar state of affairs as far as 
Ellison street is concerned. It was Ellison street from 
Washington eastwardly and John street from Washington 
street to Mill. In the course of time the two streets were 
called Ellison. Dr. Ellison, after whom the street is named, 
was one of the earliest practicing physicians in the city; 
John Clarke, after whom John street was named, was among 
the early manufacturers. 

Abraham Willis, while he was laying out streets, named 
one after himself, a name changed to Park avenue when the 
city acquired the Eastside Park. 

Oliver was the maiden name of Mrs. Roswell L. Colt. 

Mill street was named because on it was built the first 
mill of any size in Paterson. 

Cross street derived its name because it crossed from 
Market to Oliver. 

The history of Market street is somewhat similar to 
that of Van Houten and Ellison streets. The thoroughfare 
running from where the city hall is now located westerly 
to Spruce street was named Congress by Judge Boudinot. 
From the present city hall westerly it was named Market; 
its width to where the Erie tracks are now located was made 
ninety feet, for it was the intention at the time to construct 


a market building through the middle of the street, a long 
frame shed for the accommodation of farmers, butchers and 
others who had goods for sale. Subsequently the name Con- 
gress was abandoned for the westerly part of the street and it 
was all called Market. 

Godwin street was named in honor of the patriotic 
Godwin family. 

Bank street was named in 1824 because the Peoples 
Bank did business on the corner of that street and Ryerson 

Vreeland avenue was originally named Buttermilk 
lane; its name was changed in honor of the Vreelands who 
lived there during the Revolutionary war and the Vreelands 
— Michael Hartman and Cornelius — who ran a tannery and 
saw mill on the stream which formerly emptied into the 
river at the foot of Twentieth avenue. 

The triangular plot bounded by Park avenue, Market 
street and Straight street was known as the Bowery and is 
thus referred to in many old deeds. About half a mile east 
of the Bowery stood a tavern named Peace and Plenty and 
this gave that name to the neighborhood. 


There is a vague tradition that a man named Garret 
one day lost his way on the mountain and tumbled down 
the precipice now known as Garret Rock and that in this 
way the mountain and rock obtained their name. There is 
no foundation whatever for the story, for the mountain and 
rock received their name in an altogether different way. In 
old records the mountain is called Wesel ; the rock seems to 
have got along without any specific name. Occasionally 
reference is found to te Gebergte or te Gebarrack, "at the 
mountain." The name Garret does not appear until 1811. 
About that time there were in Paterson a number of men 


of a jolly disposition who formed a society called the Garret 
Society, because their meetings were held in a garret. The 
motto of the society was "Keep Dark." The object of the 
society was to have a good time when none but members 
were looking on, and to indulge in all sorts of pranks. The 
leader of the society was John Crawford, a carpenter who 
had come from Newark to work at the erection of the resi- 
dence for Peter Colt, afterwards the city hall of Paterson. 
One evening the society agreed to celebrate the Fourth of 
July by discharging a big cannon from the top of the Wesel 
mountain. The question was how to get the cannon up 
there and the job was undertaken by Crawford, who had a 
great deal of well-developed muscle. So on the evening of 
the 3d John shouldered the cannon and hied himself moun- 
tainward. Just as the first rays of the sun on the fourth 
were peeping above the Palisades John fired the cannon 
and, as quickly as he could reload it, he fired it again and 
again in rapid succession. The people of Paterson were 
naturally very much surprised at this rude awakening from 
their peaceful slumbers, but after a moment's reflection they 
did, as they had done for some time whenever anything out . 
of the usual happened : they said, "That's the Garret crowd 
again." They had concluded that the Garret society had 
changed its place of meeting from the customary garret to 
the top of the mountain and ever after the mountain was 
referred to as Garret mountain and the rock as Garret rock. 


After the failure of the Society for Establishing Useful 
Manufactures in the field of manufacturing, its directors 
held few meetings, for there was little or nothing for them 
to do. They pursued the policy known at the present day 
as "watchful waiting." They did not have to wait long, for 
power to run machinery was worth money and there was a 


lot of it running to waste down the Falls. All the early 
manufacturers who came to Paterson obtained their power 
from the Society, for the Society owned the Falls. Contrary 
to a widespread impression the charter of the Society does 
not give it any peculiar rights in the Passaic river; it has 
the same rights which every owner of property along a river 
has, the right to the undiminished flow of the water. A man 
living along a stream has the right to use the water for 
ordinary domestic purposes, but he cannot divert the water 
so as to injure people who own property below him. The 
Society's most valuable possession is the Falls and it paid 
cash for that property; it has the right to make all the 
money possible out of it, just as a man can do with an oil 
well or a gold mine on his property. This right of the So- 
ciety was disputed in the case of the Morris canal ; the peo- 
ple owning the canal took water out of the river, but the 
courts soon put a stop to that, for the Society was entitled 
to the full flow of the river; water taken out of the river 
above Paterson could not turn machinery in Paterson^ ; 

The Society accordingly increased its raceways; mills 
and factories were erected along these raceways and all paid 
money to the Society for the use of the water for power. 
The charge for the use of the water depended upon the size"- 
of the pipe or conduit supplying the mill or factory, the* 
basis being a charge of $400 per year for one square foot, . 
this being equal to fifteen horse power. About 1865 tJae-" 
demand for water power was so great that the Society in- 
creased the size of the dam above the Falls and then charged 
for the surplus water thus obtained ; manufacturers leasing 
power paid $400 per square foot under their contract and 
then $900 per square foot for the surplus water. The So- 
ciety's income in this way was increased to about $70,000 
per year. At the present day the Society receives $1,200 
per square foot from such manufacturers as do not require 


a great deal of water; from this figure the price goes down 
to $800 per square foot for larger quantities. 


When in 1854 a number of prominent men in Paterson 
-undertook to secure a water supply for this city they found 
it necessary to consult the Society. No understanding being 
arrived at, because the Society wanted every drop of water 
.above the Falls to turn into its raceways, the first supply 
for Paterson was taken out of the river below the Falls ; it 
was from there pumped to a reservoir above the Falls and 
from there flowed by gravity into the pipes which supplied 
the people of Paterson. Subsequently an arrangement was 
made by which the water was taken from above the Falls 
and pumped into the reservoir by means of a wheel placed 
in the Falls. Then a suggestion was made that the city 
.ought to buy the water works, but the voters said No, be- 
cause the water company did not have rights which were 
worth the price asked. A few years ago the voters said Yes 
to the same question, but nothing was done, as the proposi- 
tion was too great and complicated. 

Even the state shrank from the proposition when there 
•was talk about the state taking charge of the water supply 
in northern New Jersey, but what the state would not do 
some men with plenty of money were willing to try. The 
first man to undertake the task was John R. Bartlett and 
the first step he took was to buy out the Society, so that he 
eould do with the Passaic river water what he liked. Mr. 
Bartlett had a notion in his head which may seem funny at 
this day. He wanted to take the water of the Passaic river 
and lead it to New York. In order to do this he would have 
to build a tunnel under the Hudson. Some men before this 
time had begun work on such a tunnel, but not in order to 
carry water but for foot passengers. These men did not 


have enough money to finish the tunnel and so Mr. Bartlett 
bought what there was of it. The tunnel had been started 
at Hoboken and the New York end was to be at Washing- 
ton square. Mr. Bartlett spent a good deal of money on 
this tunnel before he gave it up, having come to the con- 
clusion that the water in northern New Jersey could be 
more readily sold to the people in northern New Jersey. 
Mr. Bartlett sold his tunnel and it was completed many 
years later and now connects Hoboken with Christopher 
street, New York. 

The river water below Paterson was growing worse until 
at last the Newark people said that they could stand it no 
longer ; they must have clean water and Paterson must stop 
emptying its sewers into the river. Paterson was ready with 
its answer. A man had been employed who had gone to 
Newark and dropped some marked sticks into the river right 
in the middle where the river flows through Newark; he 
watched those sticks and saw that the tide carried them up 
the river, higher and higher, until at last he saw them at 
Belleville and it was at Belleville that Newark had its pumps 
to take the water out of the river for itself and also for 
Jersey City. What sticks would do sewage would do and it 
was plain that Newark and Jersey City were drinking not 
only Paterson's sewage, but Newark's as well. Newark 
ceased scolding Paterson for polluting the river and turned 
to Mr. Bartlett and the men who were his partners. And 
this is just what they were waiting for. They knew that 
Newark would have to come, for Newark could do nothing 
without the Society and they owned the Society. So the 
men who had put so much money into the water scheme and 
the authorities of Newark got together and the result was 
that a bargain was struck by which Newark was to have a 
water supply of fifty million gallons a day and was to pay 
therefor six million dollars. Building water works for a city 
under such circumstances was something entirely new but 


the engineer who had been employed to look after the work 
was sure that it could be done at a profit of over a million 
dollars. So work was begun to make the Pequannock river 
yield a regular water supply to the city of Newark. Two 
reservoirs, Clinton and Oak Ridge, were built. The water 
from these reservoirs runs down the Pequannock river to 
Macopin, where a large basin, or intake, was built, and from 
this Newark was to be supplied by means of a steel pipe 
forty-eight inches in diameter. According to the figures of 
the engineer fifty million gallons a day will pass through 
a forty-eight inch pipe. But water from natural sources 
carries with it the seeds of a moss and these seeds quickly 
take root along the inside of any kind of pipe. That is just 
what happened in this case and the result was that Newark 
was not getting fifty million gallons of water a day, for the 
moss had reduced the carrying capacity of the pipe. There 
was nothing to be done but to lay another pipe and this 
cost a great deal of money. Then Newark measured the 
two reservoirs and found that they would not hold enough 
water to supply Newark in a dry season. Canistear reser- 
voir was built and, as even this was not quite suflBcient to 
hold the water needed, Macopin lake, or Echo lake, as it 
is frequently called, was turned over to Newark. The men 
who had taken this big job figured up how they stood and 
found that they had spent seven and a half million dollars 
and that instead of making a million and a half they were 
just about that much out of pocket. 

About this time the people of Jersey City set up a cry 
for clean water and a man named Patrick H. Flynn agreed 
to give them a supply for seven and a half million dollars. 
He bought the rights owned by the Society for Establishing 
Useful Manufactures in the Rockaway river and began work. 
But he did not have enough money to carry it through and 
the men who had supplied Newark with water took the job 
off his hands, this time making a good profit. But these 


same men had been making money in other contracts of the 
same kind. In 1894 they organized the New Jersey General 
Security Company and into the treasury of this company 
went everything in the way of water rights and contracts. 
This company now supplies Paterson, Passaic, Clifton, Glen 
Ridge, Montclair, Orange, West Orange, Bloomfield, Nutley, 
Bayonne, Little Falls, Kearney, Harrison and East Newark 
with water. It owns the Society for Establishing Useful 
Manufactures and the Dundee Water Power & Land Com- 
pany; this latter company owns the dam in the Passaic 
river just below Paterson and supplies many factories in 
Passaic with power. 

Taking so much water out of the river, which might 
have run down to Paterson, made trouble for the Society, 
for the Society had promised to keep a number of factories 
and mills supplied with water to turn the wheels which 
make the machinery go. In some cases the Society had sold 
factories with a promise that the water would never be cut 
off from those factories. The Society could not keep its 
promises on account of the water taken out for Newark, 
Jersey City and other places. In order to get out of this 
trouble, and also to sell more water, the Society a few years 
ago put up the buildings which may be seen in the basin 
below the Falls. Electric power is now made by the water 
which comes down the river and this power is sent to the 
factories and mills the Society has promised to supply with 
power. But the Society has more power than it needs and 
it sells this to the Edison company which uses it to run street 
cars; in turn, the Society buys power from the Edison com- 
pany when there is not enough water coming down the river 
to make the amount of power wanted by the Society. 

The question will now be asked : How about Paterson's 
water supply? It is a question easily answered. Some days 
a great deal of water runs down the river ; some days very 
little and none at all for a few days nearly every year. Men 


have been employed for a great many years to keep an ac- 
count of this flow of water; their figures show that if the 
whole amount of water that flowed down the river in twenty 
years was divided by the whole number of days in twenty 
years 1282 cubic feet of water would flow down the river 
every second. Newark takes about seventy cubic feet per 
second ; Jersey City takes about seventy-five and the water 
companies supplied by the New Jersey General Security 
Company take about seventy-two. In the latter figure are 
included the thirteen cubic feet used by Paterson. It is 
consequently not a question of the supply of water, but of 
storage during dry seasons. 

Four rivers empty their waters into the Passaic: The 
Pequannock, Rockaway, Ramapo and Wanaque. Newark 
owns the Pequannock, Jersey City the Rockaway. The 
points where the water is taken are high enough so that no 
pumping is necessary. But pumping would be necessary if 
the Ramapo were taken for a water supply, for it lies low. 
So for the present at least the Ramapo is out of the ques- 
tion. There remains the Wanaque, a river which gets its 
water from mountains and springs; it lies high and could 
supply Paterson and Newark without any pumping. As 
Newark will soon need an additional water supply, Newark 
has applied to the state authorities for permission to take 
the Wanaque, for the state has recently done what the state 
should have done half a century ago, taken hold of the 
matter of water supply. Newark has obtained the desired 
permission with the understanding that Paterson is to share 
in it at any time Paterson may want to do so. In the mean 
time Paterson will continue taking its water as it is pumped 
from the river near Little Falls. 

Sometimes the quantity of water in the Passaic river is 
too much for the comfort of some people living in Paterson. 
During the past forty years Paterson has had four floods 
which did considerable damage. The quantity of water 


flowing down the river was enormous on those occasions. A 
cubic foot of water is equal to 7.4805 gallons; on December 
12, 1878, 16,000 cubic feet of water passed down the river 
every second; on September 25, 1882, 18,200; on March 2, 
1902, 21,300; on October 10, 1903, 28,000. 


In 1810 there was a freshet in the river and it washed 
away a grist mill which stood along the river just above 
where the West street bridge now stands. That grist mill 
had stood there a good many years ; few people knew when 
it had been built and it was only in later years that papers 
were found which showed that it was built as early as 1737. 
Hendrick Spier owned the property as far back as 1714 but 
his land ran only to the river. John Joralemon bought the 
property in 1737 and in the same year Adrian A. Post and 
Juriaen Thomasse bought it from an Indian named Tahtho- 
chear, but neither of these deeds went as far as the bank 
of the river, being only for the island and the bottom of the 
river on both sides of it. The Indian deed was decided not 
to be worth anything as far as the Spier property was con- 
cerned and the result was that Joralemon had the water and 
Spier the place where a grist mill could be erected. The 
two went into partnership and built the first grist mill in 
what are now the limits of the city of Paterson. 


When Alexander Hamilton and his friends said that 
Paterson was to be the place for the one big factory in the 
new world, people began to come to Paterson in order to 
get a share of all the good things that were promised. Some 
of these people received floor space in the Society's mill and 
others set up shops and mills in other places. 

John Clarke was making articles of brass and tin in 
1794 and in the following year he moved to the Society's 


mill and remained there until the mill burned down. For 
some time he worked at his trade in the old grist mill at the 
foot of Mulberry street; then he moved to lower Broadway. 
In 1825 his successor, Horatio Moses, had his shop on Van 
Houten street, south side, below Main. Either Clark or 
Moses hung out as a sign a big brass dog, carrying a kettle 
in its mouth ; the sign was not taken down until a few years 

Before 1802 paper was all made in sheets; it was first 
made in a roll in 1802 in Paterson by Charles Kinsey, who 
had a paper mill on Van Houten street, below where the 
Edison works stand today. The name of the firm was Kin- 
sey, Crane & Fairchild; Kinsey had the brains and Crane 
and Fairchild the money. When people thought that a great 
deal of money was to be made by manufacturing cotton 
goods, Crane and Fairchild did not want to bother any 
longer with making paper and so they turned the paper mill 
into a cotton mill. 

Thomas Van Houten made bobbins at Cedar Grove for 
use in the Society's mill ; he cut down trees and with a buck 
saw cut the wood into small pieces; then with a chisel and 
brace he made the bobbins. In 1805 he took his brother 
Dirck into partnership and they moved their workshop to 
the Peckamin river, between Paterson and Little Falls. In 
1827 the brothers came to Paterson and put up a frame mill 
along the river where Clinton street now ends and they 
remained there for seven years, when Thomas died. The 
industry has changed hands frequently since that time; at 
the present it is the Van Riper Manufacturing Company on 
lower Van Houten street. 


John Parke was one of the early citizens of Paterson 
who made people know he was here. He was making candle- 


wicks in the Society's mill when that building was burned 
down in 1807; he then built a mill for cotton spinning on 
Van Houten street ; this mill is today a part of the Phoenix 
silk mills. In addition to making cotton he kept a store in 
Paterson. He found that it paid to advertise his store and 
so he thought it would pay him to advertise his cotton 
business and Paterson at the same time. In those days 
goods were shipped from Paterson by being taken in wagons 
to the river below Passaic; here they were loaded into 
schooners and in that way taken to Philadelphia, which 
seems to have been the place where most of the goods made 
in Paterson were sold. Parke changed all this. He bought 
some large wagons, painted them all sorts of gaudy colors 
and then hitched either four or six horses to each for the 
trip to Philadelphia. In that way people living between 
Paterson and Philadelphia learned that there was such a 
place as Paterson and that John Parke made calico and kept 
a store there. Parke kept this up for some years but in 
1812 could make no more calico; the United States was at 
war with England and no cotton came from the South; 
there were no railroads in those days and cotton was brought 
to the North in sailing vessels and these would probably 
have fallen into the hands of the English if they had left the 
ports in the South. So Parke had to close up his factory 
and a short time after he found that he did not have enough 
to pay his debts. Afterwards he was postmaster of Pater- 
son and one of the judges of the county courts. 


Standing on the Main street bridge and looking down 
the river, or standing on the Arch street bridge and looking 
up the river, the principal object seen nowadays is a dam. 
That dam was built in 1838 by William Stagg in order to 
give power to turn the wheels of his grist mill, which stood 


on the north side of the river near the foot of Clinton street, 
where the Pope mill now stands. Stagg had trouble before 
he was ready for business. The True Reformed Dutch 
church had property near where Stagg wanted to build his 
mill and the people of the church did not like the idea of 
having a grist mill so near to their church. So they went 
to court about it and three men were appointed to settle the 
matter. These three men decided in favor of Stagg, as all 
persons may read in their report, in which they say "that 
the church people must not mislest or prevent Stagg from 
erecting his mill and dam on said sight without any truble 
or Damage of expence from them or their suckcessors." 


Everybody in Paterson knows that there are a great 
many silk mills in Paterson but everybody does not know 
who started this industry. In 1839 one of the big silk mills 
in Macclesfield, England, was owned by two brothers, Reu- 
ben and William Ryle. Another brother, John, was working 
for them as superintendent. Reuben and William thought 
that perhaps they might do some business in this country if 
they had somebody to look after selling their silks here. So 
they asked John to take the job. This suited John very 
well, for he had long had a desire to come to this country. 
He went looking around when he got here and at one time 
held the position of superintendent of a small silk mill in 
Northampton, Mass.; here he became acquainted with 
George W. Murray, who had been interested in the silk 
business in England. Reuben and William wrote to their 
brother, saying that he had been sent to this country to look 
after their business and that it was about time he opened 
a store here where they could sell their silks. So John went 
to New York where he opened a store on the comer of 
William street and Maiden lane. Here Mr. Murray came 


to see him and talked him into going to Paterson to see what 
chance there was for a silk mill here. Mr. Ryle came to 
Paterson where he met Christopher Colt, a man who had 
tried making silk in the old Gun mill in the Valley of the 
Rocks; three months of silk had been all that Mr. Colt 
wanted and he had quit. Mr. Ryle reported to Mr. Murray 
and then the two came out here and the result was that Mr. 
Murray bought the Gun mill, J&Ued it up with silk machinery 
and placed Mr. Ryle in charge. What was made was sew- 
ing silk and that silk in those days was sold in skeins, for 
spools had not been thought of. About this time Elias 
Howe had begun his invention of sewing machines; the 
main trouble he had was to feed the silk to the needle; he 
found it hard to do this when the thread came only in 
skeins. So he spoke to Mr. Ryle and the result was that 
Mr. Ryle found a way of putting silk on spools; the first 
silk thread used on sewing machines came from Paterson. 
This was very good for both the maker of sewing machines 
and the maker of the silk thread. Mr. Murray took Mr. 
Ryle into partnership and the firm of Murray & Ryle made 
money ; in 1846 Mr. Ryle bought out Mr. Murray's interest 
in the business and continued it alone. He built a new mill, 
which he named Murray after his former partner ; this mill 
was burned down, but Mr. Ryle at once began work on the 
Murray mill where silk is still made at the present day. 

Such was the beginning of the silk industry in America, 
for before Mr. Ryle took hold of the matter, the silk made 
in this country was not worth talking about. To the people 
of Paterson the silk industry has been a great help. When 
there were "hard times," and the locomotive works were 
closed for several years, the silk mills kept on working ; the 
wages were not as high as in the locomotive works, but 
people learned that even low wages were better than no 
wages at all. 


In Paterson is to be found every branch of the silk 
industry with the exception of taking the silk thread from 
the cocoon, where it was spun by the worm, and putting it 
up in skeins. This work is done in countries where people 
are satisfied with wages of a few cents a day. Some attempts 
at growing silk have been made in Paterson and in several 
places in the city mulberry trees may still be seen. The 
leaves of these trees are what silk worms are fond of and 
so these trees were brought here to feed the silk worms. 
The silk worms did their part and some people even took 
the silk threads from the cocoons and it was worked up into 
articles; this was amusement and curiosity but not work 
that paid. An attempt at raising silk in Georgia some years 
ago had a similar result. 

In the early days of the industry all the raw silk came 
from Italy, France, China and Turkey, and it cost between 
three and four dollars a pound. Then the Japanese wanted 
to know if they could not send some of their silk this way 
and were told to do so and be welcome, especially as they 
offered it for two dollars a pound. The Japanese had always 
been known as making the finest kind of silk goods and the 
Paterson silk men felt happy because they would be able to 
make the same kind and then make ever so much more 
money on account of the low price they would pay the 
Japanese for the raw material. Just there is where they 
made a mistake. When the Japanese silk arrived it was 
found to be so fine that only the thinnest kind of goods 
could be made out of it, goods that looked like fine veils. 
Paterson silk workers called it "everlasting," because it took 
so long to weave a yard. It was not liked for weaving in 
Paterson and nobody wanted to buy the goods, because they 
were so thin. But it was all used, for the Paterson silk 
weavers twisted four threads of it together and then they 
had a thread just as thick as any silk that had ever been 
used in the Paterson silk mills. But the Japanese also 


found out that they could get more money for the silk and 
so they quickly sent the price up until their silk cost just 
as much as other silk. Raw silk went up in price to ten 
dollars a pound during the civil war ; then it went back to 
three or four dollars a pound ; during the great world's war 
it went back to ten dollars a pound, but after fighting had 
stopped it went down again. 

Bury a spool of silk thread, a spool of woollen thread 
and a spool of cotton thread into the ground ; dig there some 
years later and it will be found that the spools, the wool and 
the cotton have gone; they have all rotted and all that is 
left is the silk and that is just as good as it was when it was 
buried. Silk is therefore the most lasting of all stuffs 
that dresses, ribbons and thread can be made of ; it does not 
rot and it is hard to wear it out. When silk dresses were 
made of pure silk a woman would wear a silk dress all her 
life, then give it to her daughter and this daughter would 
give it to her daughter and the dress would still be good. 
But raw silk costs several dollars a pound and so men tried 
to find something they could add to the silk and make 
cheaper goods. They tried adding a little in the way of 
cotton and woollen threads, but this did not work, as the 
goods did not look as fine and the wool and cotton would 
wear out or rot so quickly that the whole dress would be 
gone in a short time. Then some man found out that he 
could add a little sugar to the dye stuffs used for silks of 
light color and a little nut galls to black silks. In this way 
he could add two or three ounces to every pound of silk 
woven in his mill, and of course he made money, for sugar 
and nut galls cost only a few cents a pound. This worked 
very well, but the silk manufacturers went too far, especially 
when they found that a salt of tin could be added and a 
great deal more than of either sugar or nut galls. Fashions 
kept changing and this meant cutting up a silk dress from 
one pattern to another; so people wanted cheaper silks and 


they got what they wanted, but the stuff they bought was 
more tin than silk; in fact, sometimes there would be four 
times more tin than silk. Dresses made of this material do 
not last long; in fact, some of the stuff dresses were to be 
made of would rot on the shelves before a dressmaker got 
hold of it. So of late years less tin has been used and good 
silks have little of it. 

When the worm makes its cocoon it spins a thin silk 
thread and in doing so uses some gum, sometimes more and 
sometimes less. This gum cannot be used in weaving silk 
and must be boiled off. Of course the less gum there is in 
raw silk the more is the silk worth. So when a bale of silk 
arrives at the store of a man selling raw silk, it is examined 
to find out how much gum the worms used in making the 
silk. This is called "conditioning," and this fixes the real or 
market value of the silk. 


One of the principal industries in Paterson in past 
years was, and to some extent still is, the making of loco- 
motives. How did the men in early Paterson come to make 
locomotives? There is an interesting story in the answer to 
this question. Up to 1832 all locomotives were made in 
England. The railroad, which had been built a short time 
before between Paterson and Jersey City, wanted a locomo- 
tive and so bought one in England. It was put into boxes in 
England and sent to this country and the railroad people 
sent it to a shop along the raceway in Paterson; Thomas 
Rogers was one of the partners who owned this machine 
shop. Rogers was to put the locomotive together so that it 
could be used ; he did so, but he first made a pattern of every 
piece of it. In less than a year he had a locomotive just like 
the one that had been sent here from England. On October 
6, 1837, he and some of his friends used the locomotive for 


an excursion to New Brunswick, by way of Jersey City. 
The engine worked just as well as had the one that came 
from England and Mr. Rogers saw that he could make a 
great deal of money out of making locomotives. He cer- 
tainly did so and left a great deal of money to his son, 
Jacob S. Rogers, and this son in turn made more money by 
making more locomotives. 

But Rogers could not have this industry all to himself. 
Other men began to build locomotives and in a few years 
the Grant Locomotive works and the Danforth Locomotive 
& Machine Company, afterwards the Cooke Locomotive 
Works, were making locomotives, the three shops together 
sometimes turning out as many as thirty locomotives in a 
month. The Grant works failed and the machinery was 
moved to Chicago. The Cooke works were moved from 
lower Market street down towards Lake View, along the 
tracks of the Erie railroad. It was then that the American 
Locomotive company bought all the locomotive works in 
the country, and even some in Canada, excepting one in 
Philadelphia and the Rogers works in Paterson. Mr. Rogers, 
Jacob S., would not sell; but he was getting old and had 
plenty of money and did not want to bother making more ; 
so in 1900 he concluded that he would shut up his works and 
he did so. They were bought by some men in New York 
who in turn sold them to the American Locomotive Com- 
pany and this company moved the machinery to the Cooke 
works, which they had bought some time before. So Pater- 
son today has only one locomotive works instead of three. 

Jacob S. Rogers died worth a great deal of money. In 
his will he left a little of it to some relatives — he was never 
married — but nearly all of it, five million dollars, went to 
the Metropolitan Museum of Art in Central Park, New 
York. So the money Mr. Rogers and his men made in Pat- 
erson was lost to Paterson forever. 


There is an interesting story connected with the success 
the Rogers, father and son, had in making locomotives. 
Jacob S. Rogers one day told this story as follows: "In Eng- 
land, in fact all over Europe, they make locomotives as stiff 
and solid as if they had been cast out of one solid piece of 
metal. When a locomotive is put on a road and it is found 
that the locomotive cannot go around a curve because the 
locomotive is too long and stiff, they take up the road and 
straighten out the curve. I build locomotives just the other 
way. Instead of building the road to suit the locomotive, I 
build the locomotive to suit the road. The English say that 
my locomotives are wobbly and they call them basket work, 
but that is just the kind of locomotives I want to build. 
Show me the road and I will build an engine to suit it. 
Instead of fastening big wheels to a stiff and heavy body, I 
put the body loosely on the wheels, so that the body can 
move around a little when the engine goes around a curve. 
The result is that a road can be built a great deal cheaper 
for my engines than for English engines. It costs me a 
tariff of forty cents for every dollar's worth of steel and iron 
I get from England, and I have got to go to England for my 
steel and iron, but I am selling engines to Englishmen in 
Canada and Australia and other British possessions. The 
English in England would not have any of my engines, for 
they are used to their own and their railroads are built for 
their engines, but I can sell engines all over the rest of the 
world. The English do not like to be taught by an Ameri- 
can ; some day they will find out that I am right, but when 
that time comes I shall not want to build any more locomo- 


Some years ago there were two large iron manufactur- 
ing establishments, one on each side of the Erie tracks near 


Lake View, the Paterson Iron Company and the Passaic 
Rolling Mill. Franklin C. Beckwith made a success of the 
Paterson Iron Company, for in his day there was no rolling 
mill with big steam hammers in this part of the country. 
When the shaft of a large steamer broke and it was necessary 
to get another, this had to be done in a hurry in order that 
the steamer might get to sea again as quickly as possible. 
To send far out West for a new shaft meant a great deal of 
delay and was unsatisfactory because the men who owned 
the steamer could not see to it themselves that the shaft 
was made just as they wanted it. So Mr. Beckwith made 
these shafts and he got for them almost any price he asked. 
What was true of the broken shaft of a steamer was true 
also of many other broken large pieces of iron and Mr. 
Beckwith's establishment was kept busy most of the time. 
But when railroads ran faster trains out West and when 
other rolling mills with big steam hammers started into 
business in this part of the country, the business of the Pat- 
erson Iron Company fell off and it was closed in 1897. The 
place it occupied is now used by the Erie railroad for a 

Watts Cooke founded the Passaic Rolling Mill. He 
had been a superintendent on the Delaware, Lackawanna 
& Western railroad and he thought he could make money 
by building bridges for railroads. He was right, for he built 
a great many bridges and he did so according to a plan 
which was new at that time. When men wanted a bridge 
built the work was done by a number of laborers and black- 
smiths at the place where the bridge was to be erected. 
After the piers of the bridge were up came a long job with 
iron. The iron had to be forged and put into shape and then 
put together. Watts Cooke went to work in a different way. 
The piers had to be built at the stream, because they could 
not be built anywhere else and then moved to the stream, 
but the bridge itself was built in Paterson. A little bridge, 


like a toy bridge, was made of small pieces of wood, each 
piece fitting just where it belonged. Then the real bridge, 
of heavy iron, was made after the little model and it is easy 
to see that this could be done a great deal cheaper and better 
in works where they had big furnaces and forges and steam 
riveting machines than on the banks of a distant stream. 
The bridge was put together in the yard of the works, with- 
out being fastened together; then it was taken down and 
shipped to where the bridge was to stand; the subsequent 
work of putting it together amounted to very little com- 
pared to what had to be done under the old plan. The 
Passaic Rolling Mill built a large part of the elevated rail- 
roads in New York, the Seventh Regiment armory, the 
Washington bridge over the Harlem river and many of the 
bridges in Passaic county and other parts of the country. 
At the death of Watts Cooke in 1908 the works passed into 
other hands. 


The history of the Barbour flax spinning works in Pat- 
erson is not as interesting as is the history of other industries 
in this city, for it was only a matter of putting money 
where more could be made. Four of the Barbour brothers 
had been making linen thread in Lisburn, Ireland. They 
sold a great deal of their thread in this country, but the 
price was high on account of the tariff they had to pay to 
get the thread into the country. So two of the brothers, 
Thomas and Robert, came to this country in 1864, and 
began making thread in Paterson. They bought a mill in 
which John Colt had made calico, but this soon proved too 
small for them. In 1877 they built a mill on Grand street ; 
the next year they doubled it and so they kept on adding to 
it until the mill grew to be as big as it is now. Thomas 
»nd Robert are both dead. Thomas left a son, William, who 


succeeded his father; he lived most of the time in New 
York, but he was always a good friend to Paterson, where 
he spent a great deal of his money, a large part going to the 
hospitals and other charitable institutions. His sons now 
run the works, for William Barbour died March 1, 1917. 
Robert Barbour left a son, J. Edwards Barbour, who for 
many years managed the Paterson mills. In 1909 he began 
to manufacture for himself and he now has a mill at Lake 
View and another in AUentown, Pa. 

Municipal Administration 

Municipal Administration 

In the early days of this part of New Jersey all the 
ground now covered by the city of Paterson was in the 
township of Acquackanonk and this township was in Essex 
county. Paterson was first put on the map as a township 
in 1831 as a part of Essex county. On February 7, 1837, 
the lawmakers of New Jersey passed a law which created 
the county of Passaic by taking the township of Acquacka- 
nonk from Essex county and a large part of the township 
of Saddle River from Bergen county. 


When Paterson became a township the people here were 
very poor and money was so scarce that even a rich man 
of those days would be considered poor today. Some idea 
of what money was worth in those days may be gained from 
the fact that the counsel of the township, Daniel Barkalow, 
one of the most prominent lawyers Passaic county produced, 
was satisfied with a salary of ten dollars for a whole year's 
work. The voters every year decided how much money 
should be spent for the various branches of the government, 
until in 1849 when they decided not to spend another dollar 
for any purpose. There was no money for the poor, for the 
streets, for the schools or for anything else. The poormaster 
had paid ten dollars a year rent for the poor house and had 
received one dollar a week for the board of each of the 
poor; the authorities sold the poor house. The township 
owned what was known as the "town lot," over four and 
seven-tenths acres at what is now Broadway and East Eigh- 


teenth street; this was sold for eight hundred dollars. At 
the regular election in 1850 the voters again decided in 
favor of no taxes; a special election was held and the result 
was the same; everything seemed at a standstill when 
another election was called and the voters agreed to spend 
fifty dollars for the support of the poor for one year and 
they would not agree to give a dollar for any other purpose. 
What little money was used for the government came from 
the pockets of men who were willing to loan it to the town- 
ship and trust to the honor of the people to pay it back 
some time in the future. 

But there came a change, for there was more work, the 
factories being busy. Th people decided in 1851 by a vote 
of 772 to 330 to change the township into a city and the 
government passed into the hands of a council, the president 
of which was pretty much what the mayor became in after 
years. There were three wards and their boundaries were 
very simple. All of Paterson lying east of Main street and 
north of Market was the East ward ; all west of Main street 
and north of Market was the West ward and the rest of the 
city was the South ward. In 1854 the city reached out and 
added what is now the First and Second wards of the city, 
excepting the land lying north of Totowa avenue and west 
of the Oldham brook; this strip was added the following 
year and the whole made into the North ward. The Fifth 
ward was made the same year by taking from the South 
ward all east of Cross and Marshall streets. The title of the 
government was changed to "The Mayor and Aldermen of 
the City of Paterson," and large leather badges were pro- 
vided for the aldermen; these badges indicated the ward 
the bearer represented and were in use for a number of 
years. In 1869 the city took enough real estate from the 
township of Acquackanonk to make the city's southerly 
line Crooks avenue and the westerly line West Twenty- 
Seventh street. 



Paterson's First City Hall 



In 1869 the aldermen thought it would be very nice for 
the Paterson of the future if the city had a park in its 
centre and a city hall in the centre of the park. So they 
appointed a commission to buy the property bounded by 
Market, Ellison, Colt and Church streets. Some of the tax- 
payers thought this was going too far and they went to 
court about it; the court decided that the aldermen had no 
right to give to others the powers which the legislature had 
given only to the aldermen ; the aldermen might buy prop- 
erty for the city but they could not get others to attend to 
that matter for them. As so many taxpayers had shown 
that they objected to having a park in the centre of the 
city, the aldermen satisfied themselves by buying a building 
for a city hall. The building they bought had been erected 
by Peter Colt in 1814 as a residence for himself; he had 
used in its construction the brown stone taken from the 
walls of the large mill owned by the Society but which had 
burned down. The Colt residence was two stories high and 
stood where the police station stands now. From its front 
entrance a large lawn reached down to Main street. The 
aldermen cut down the hill in front of the building and the 
street thus made is now called Washington. This left the 
building high up in the air and so the aldermen built another 
story under it. In the picture of the building the former 
entrance can be easily distinguished over the entrance built 
afterwards. The building was used by the city officers until 
the present city hall was erected. It was destroyed in the 
great fire in 1902. 


In 1891 the city celebrated the centennial of its found- 
ing. A part of this celebration was the beginning of the 
erection of the present city hall. Where that building now 


stands stood formerly St. Paul's Episcopal church ; this had 
a little city block all to itself, Colt street separating it on 
the north from an old hotel, the Hamilton House, and a 
row of oflBces. The church, hotel and offices were removed 
to make room for the present city hall. The fire in 1902 
burned out the inside of the new building, but did not 
destroy the walls. Until the interior of the city hall could 
be repaired and fitted up the city offices were scattered about 
in many different places, the court house, post office, Entre 
Nous lyceum, the lecture room of the First Presbyterian 
church and other places. 


In 1884 the people of Paterson voted in favor of a public 
library. Five citizens were appointed by the mayor and^ 
they began work by renting a building on Church street, 
between Market and Ellison streets. Then came the offer 
of a site. Mrs. Mary E. Ryle, the daughter of Charles Dan- 
forth, one of the prominent locomotive builders of Paterson, 
and widow of William Ryle, a wealthy silk importer, wanted 
to do something in memory of her father. The residence 
occupied by the Danforth family for many years stood on 
the northeast corner of Market and Church streets. This 
Mrs. Ryle offered to give to the library trustees and of 
course her offer was gratefully accepted. The only condi- 
tion Mrs. Ryle made was that the library should be named 
after her father and to this day it is known as the Danforth 
Free Public Library. Mrs. Ryle, however, was not satisfied 
with what she had done and so she paid all the expenses 
incurred in making her former home a convenient place for 
a library. When the building and its contents were de- 
stroyed in the fire of 1902, and the trustees decided to put 
up a new building on Broadway, Auburn and Van Houten 
streets, Mrs. Ryle contributed one hundred thousand dollars 
towards paying the expenses. 

Paterson's First Public Library Building 



The Board of Aldermen in 1888 purchased the Eastside 
and Westside parks and then passed them into the custody 
of a board appointed for that purpose by the mayor. A 
number of smaller parks have since been added in various 
parts of the city, the largest being the former Pennington 
homestead lying opposite Westside park. 


The legislature of 1907 provided that the mayor of 
Paterson should appoint Commissioners of Finance, of 
Public Works and of Police and Fire. The Board of Finance 
divides up the money received from the taxpayers among 
the various branches of the city government and looks after 
the money interests of the city ; without the approval of the 
Board of Finance no bills, excepting those of the Board of 
Education, can be paid. The Board of Public Works looks 
after the public buildings, the streets and such matters. The 
title of the board is enough to show the work looked after 
by the Board of Police and Fire Commissioners. 


There is an interesting incident connected with the in- 
troduction of the first steam fire engine in Paterson. For 
many years the firemen of the city received no pay for the 
work they did and each company tried to do better than any 
of the others. Their principal means of putting out fires 
were hand engines. In 1860 Washington Engine Company 
No. 3, located on Prospect street, near Ellison, asked the 
aldermen to buy a steam engine for it, agreeing to contribute 
a thousand dollars out of the company's treasury towards 
the cost. Steam engines were something new and none of 
the aldermen had ever seen any. Engine Company No. 3 
was not satisfied with the inaction of the aldermen and, in 


order to show the people of Paterson the kind of work a 
steam engme could do, they had one brought from New 
York. There was a big crowd present when the engine was 
set to work pumping at one of the raceways in the lower 
part of the city. All were surprised and many were ready 
to help buy the machine, so that $1,400 was subscribed on 
the spot. Had it not been for the war Engine Company 
No. 3 would have obtained that engine, but when the Union 
needed men so many of the fire fighters enlisted that little 
attention was paid to the fire department. After the war 
was over the members of Passaic Engine Company No. 1, 
whose house was on Van Houten street, nearly opposite to 
where fire headquarters are today, thought they would get 
ahead of No. 3 and so they circulated a petition among 
prominent men asking the aldermen to buy a steam fire 
engine for Engine Company No. 1. Those who had charge 
of the petition and those who signed it were made to promise 
not to tell anybody what was being done, for the men of 
No. 1 were afraid that the men of No. 3 might spoil their 
plans, for it was known that No. 3 also wanted an engine. 
One of the men of No. 1 told the secret to his wife and she 
blabbed it the next morning to her next door neighbor, who 
was the wife of a member of No. 3. The rest of the story 
need hardly be told. The petition from No. 3, hurriedly 
prepared, was granted by the aldermen while the men of 
No. 1 were still looking for signatures to their petition. And 
so it came to pass that Engine Company No. 3 was the first 
company of the old volunteer department to have a steam 
fire engine. 

The change from the volunteer department to the paid 
department was gradual. First the aldermen gave a few 
hundred dollars to each fire company every year; then the 
captain and engineer were paid and then followed the ap- 
pointment of paid call men, the latter being members of the 
department who worked at their usual occupations until a 


fire alarm was sounded when they dropped everything and 
hurried to the scene of the fire. Finally came the present 
department with its large force of men and the best of fire 
fighting machines. 


It is not at all certain that Guiliaem Bertholf taught 
school in 1693 in what is now Paterson, but it is likely that 
he did. In one of his letters he refers to himself as ''the 
pastor of the churches of Hackensack and Acquackanonk, 
the resident schoolmaster and consoler of the sick." As 
Paterson, before it was called Paterson, was a part of Ac- 
quackanonk, the chances are that the school teachers of 
Paterson today are the successors of Rev. Mr. Bertholf. The 
Acquackanonk church records tell of a man named James 
Billington, who was a schoolmaster, and who was married 
in 1742, the name of his bride being Anna America. Perhaps 
Mr. Billington taught school somewhere in what is now 
Paterson. There was a school in 1768 at Pompton and in 
1775 at Singac; in 1802 there was a log school house near 
what is now Athenia — schools all about Paterson but none 
in Paterson. 

Just when the first school was built in Paterson is not 
known but records tell of school being taught before 1820 
in a building which stood near where the Market street 
bridge now crosses into Bergen county. There were several 
school teachers there, one after another, and some of the 
pupils were ferried across the river from Bergen county, for 
there was no bridge there at that time. The teacher and 
his family lived in the same building in which he taught 
school; there were several classes and each was taught for 
three hours in the forenoon and three hours in the after- 
noon ; there was a half holiday every Saturday and later on 
a whole holiday on Saturday, but there were no vacations. 


But before this time the Society for Establishing Useful 
Manufactures had done something towards education. In 
1794 the superintendent of the Society reported to the 
directors that a number of children would be taken out of- 
the Society's factory by their parents unless something was 
done in the way of teaching these children. So the directors 
told the superintendent to employ a schoolmaster to teach 
these children on Sundays. This was probably done, for two 
years later the Society gave John Wright, schoolmaster, 
the use of a house in which to teach school. But before 
John Wright began to teach, Miss Sarah Colt had started 
a Sunday school and she carried it on for a number of years; 
she was the daughter of the Society's superintendent and 
was only twelve years of age when she began to teach. It 
may seem curious in these days that reading, writing and 
arithmetic should be taught in Sunday schools, but the 
teaching of these branches of education was the main object 
of Sunday schools in the early days of Paterson. Even as 
late as 1822 the Paterson Union Sunday School Society de- 
clared that its object was teaching "the rudiments of the 
English language, religion and morality." 

In 1814 the Society gave a lot on the southeast comer 
of Market and Union streets for the purpose of education 
and the building there was occupied by the Paterson Acad- 
emy, which had been started some three years previous. It 
was in this building that the first free school, that is, a school 
at the expense of the public, was begun in 1827, the lower 
floor of the building being rented for $2.50 per month, but 
it was understood that the school was only for the benefit 
of the children of the poor. The cost of education in Pat- 
erson in 1831 was only $300 and in 1835 the school trustees 
got along with $200, this sum including all expenses. These 
schools were called "free schools for the poor" and it was 
not until 1847 that the words "for the poor" were dropped 
from the title. Even then it required a permit from the 


school trustees before a child could enter school and no 
family could send more than one child without paying a 
tuition fee. Children were required to furnish their own 
books and stationery. 

In 1837 the school trustees rented the basement of the 
Cross street Methodist church and in this same basement 
the first session of the Passaic county courts was held. 
While court was in session the children played. School was 
next held in the basement of a Baptist church in Broadway, 
afterwards the German Presbyterian church. The school 
was then moved to the corner of Union and Smith streets; 
this building was burned down in 1846 and the school went 
back to the basement of the Cross street church. In 1848 
the trustees bought a lot on the south side of Ellison street, 
between Main and Prospect streets; there was already a 
building on the lot, but another was erected in the rear ; the 
lower floor of this was used as a private school ; the public 
school was held upstairs and among the pupils who attended 
was the late William J. Rogers, who was subsequently super- 
intendent of the schools in Paterson for a number of years. 
The records do not tell what the school hours were but they 
do say that these hours began at six o'clock in the morning. 

Progress in building schools — and also in attending 
them — ^now became rapid until there was established our 
present large and efl&cient system. Under the city charter 
of 1871 the members of the Board of Education were elected 
annually by voters, two from each ward ; this was done away 
with by the legislature in 1902, since which time the mem- 
bers of the board have been appointed by the mayor of the 


014 223 209 1 ^